There's Winning ... and there's Winning
posted on Wednesday 04 Jul, 2007.
We stayed up last night to watch the finish of the America’s Cup; Team New Zealand racing against Alinghi (Swiss boat with a mostly New Zealand crew and New Zealand skipper).
It had been a tough race. Although the boats were similar, Team New Zealand consistently pulled ahead with their better sailing skills. As they’d hammered towards the mark at the end of the first leg Alinghi pushed them off course, not breaking the rules but won the point by bending them rather than by superior seamanship. Then as the boats hammered towards the 3rd and last mark before the home stretch, Alinghi turned around and sailed at full pelt straight at Team New Zealand. “It’s like their attacking her!” exclaimed my husband. At the last minute Team New Zealand pulled out of the way. Then the umpire boat gave Team New Zealand a penalty, which meant that she had to do a full circle some time between then and the finish line. The commentator spoke of Alinghi’s skipper as a “Great skipper rather than a good skipper.”
Down the home straight, after putting Team New Zealand right off course with that tactic, Alinghi was at first in front, but Team New Zealand didn’t give up and were creeping in front when Alinghi’s spinnaker went out of control and blew her off course. While her crew were sorting that out Team New Zealand did their pirouette just in front of the finish line.
Then there was team New Zealand picking up speed again as they crossed the line, with Alinghi racing across next to them. It looked like a tie to us, but the clock said that Alinghi had won – by 2 seconds!