Americas Cup teams spend day off fine tuning

25th June 2007, Comments 0 comments

25 June 2007, VALENCIA - The Swiss and Kiwi America's Cup hopefuls spent Monday searching for tiny tweaks to increase their speed, with the score even at 1-1 in the best-of-nine series.

25 June 2007

VALENCIA -  The Swiss and Kiwi America's Cup hopefuls spent Monday searching for tiny tweaks to increase their speed, with the score even at 1-1 in the best-of-nine series.

Monday is officially a "lay-day" _ without racing _ at the 32nd America's Cup. That does not make it a day off for defender Alinghi and challenger Emirates Team New Zealand as they strive to improve their performances before racing resumes Tuesday.

Alinghi skipper Brad Butterworth said his 17-member crew would spend Monday reviewing videos and photographs of Sunday's race, looking for anywhere they made gains or losses in a sport where the tiniest difference in wind can be decisive.

The Kiwis were doing the same, after coming from behind Sunday to shock the powerful Swiss with a 28-second win, handing Alinghi it's first-ever America's Cup defeat after six straight wins.

That also ensured that for the first time since 1992, the oldest trophy in international sport, the Auld Mug, would not be won in a sweep.

In the past four campaigns, the winner took all the races, but now the race park in Valencia is abuzz with hopes of a close-fought yacht race.

The triumph was just what the Kiwis needed while gearing up for race three, New Zealand strategist Ray Davies said.

"That's always a huge booster and there is nothing worse than going into a day off on a loss because the only way to recover from a loss is to get back out there and redeem yourself," he said.

Until Sunday, Butterworth had a 16-win streak in the America's Cup, starting in 1995. But he had not expected another sweep this time.

"The team always thought they were going to come into this thing with a hard fight on their hands," said Butterworth, a Kiwi himself.

New Zealand won the chance to avenge their 2003 defeat to Alinghi by defeating Italy's Luna Rosa 5-0 in the challenger finals earlier in the month.

Alinghi, founded in 2000 by Swiss biotech billionaire Bertarelli, lured away key Kiwi sailors, including Butterworth, from the team that successfully defended New Zealand's cup the same year.

Both sides prefer to call it a rematch, rather than a grudge match, after hate mail and even death threats against Alinghi's Kiwi sailors marred its 5-0 sweep in 2003.

The teams spent years developing their new 80-foot carbon fiber boats, SUI100 for the Swiss and NZL92 for the Kiwis, and are always testing new ways to increase speed.

The fine-tuning continues, and the Swiss team said its shore crew spent most of the night getting the boat ready for the next race.

Ahead of racing, experts guessed that well-funded Alinghi had built a rocket ship of a boat in SUI100.

The yacht's first real race, on Saturday, seemed to confirm that, with Alinghi dominating the contest and beating New Zealand by 35 seconds in moderate wind.

However, the Kiwis, who often bemoan their low budget, stand out in light winds, such as when they won on Sunday. And the weather forecast is for more light wind when racing resumes Tuesday.

Don Cowie, the Kiwi's mainsail trimmer, said was one thing was clear: "They are two very even boats out there."

[Copyright AP with Expatica]

Subject: Spanish news

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