Archive | June, 2007

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America’s Cup Match – Day 6: Alinghi one step from the Auld Mug

Posted on 30 June 2007 by Valencia Sailing

Earlier this afternoon, Alinghi scored their third consecutive win and what could be the Match’s most decisive one. They are now just one step from retaining the Auld Mug. The race was held in lighter conditions than Friday (starting at 10 knots and falling to 8) and two shifts decided the outcome.

The race started once again right on time with wind speed 10 knots and direction 115 degrees (our forecast was on spot as far as the direction was concerned but on the lighter side on speed). The prestart was aggressive but without any incidents and both boats hit the starting line at full speed. Emirates Team NZ was on the left and Alinghi on the right, both on starboard tack.

Similar to the previous races, they initially engaged in a long straight line towards the left-hand layline with Alinghi holding a small lead. The Swiss were also the first to tack to the right while the New Zealanders kept on for a couple of minutes. It turned out to be a decisive move and a small left shift pushed them forward. When they tacked as well, they were ahead and with the continued shift on the left, they rounded the top mark 14 seconds in advance.

The first run was a two sided story. Initially, Emirates Team NZ managed to stay in front of their opponent and even led by more than 100 meters at some stages. Still, Alinghi were able to close in on them and in the last stretch got very close. While the two boats were approaching the leeward gate,the kiwis took the decision to head for the left gate while Ed Baird steered SUI-100 to the right and rounded the gate a mere 11 seconds behind Dean Barker.

In hindsight, the wrong tactical choice at the leeward gate was the beginning of the end for Emirates Team NZ. Alinghi headed to the right side of the course and the New Zealanders to the left. They soon tacked to the right and the two boats started a tacking duel approximately halfway up the beat. Alinghi had benefited from a 15-degree right shift and after the third tack they were ahead of Emirates Team NZ. They led till the top mark and they rounded it 16 seconds ahead.

Having turned the situation around to the their advantage, Alinghi stayed in control of the game during the last leg and despite the 9 gybes thrown by their opponents they crossed the finish line 28 seconds in advance.

Alinghi in the prestart procedure of the 6th race of the 32nd America’s Cup. Valencia, 30 June 2007. Photo copyright Pierre Orphanidis / Valencia Sailing

Alinghi raise the Y-flag as Emirates Team NZ gybe in front of their bow. Valencia, 30 June 2007. Photo copyright Pierre Orphanidis / Valencia Sailing

With 5 seconds to go before the gun is fired both boats were sailing at full speed towards the starting line. Valencia, 30 June 2007. Photo copyright Pierre Orphanidis / Valencia Sailing

The start was completely even. Valencia, 30 June 2007. Photo copyright Pierre Orphanidis / Valencia Sailing

Once again, the first stretch of the race consisted of a straight line towards the left layline. Valencia, 30 June 2007. Photo copyright Pierre Orphanidis / Valencia Sailing

Emirates Team NZ called correctly the first shift of the day (to the left) and were ahead at the final stretch of the first leg. Valencia, 30 June 2007. Photo copyright Pierre Orphanidis / Valencia Sailing

The final stretch of the first run was very close. Valencia, 30 June 2007. Photo copyright Pierre Orphanidis / Valencia Sailing

At the approach of the leeward gate, Emirates Team NZ were in the lead. Valencia, 30 June 2007. Photo copyright Pierre Orphanidis / Valencia Sailing

The race’s most decisive tactical decision. Alinghi go on the right while Emirates Team NZ decide to go left. Valencia, 30 June 2007. Photo copyright Pierre Orphanidis / Valencia Sailing

The race’s most decisive tactical decision. Alinghi go on the right while Emirates Team NZ decide to go left. Valencia, 30 June 2007. Photo copyright Pierre Orphanidis / Valencia Sailing

Undoubtedly, the race’s turning point. Alinghi take the lead at the 4th tack of the 2nd beat. Valencia, 30 June 2007. Photo copyright Pierre Orphanidis / Valencia Sailing

Alinghi maintained their lead in the last leg. Valencia, 30 June 2007. Photo copyright Pierre Orphanidis / Valencia Sailing

SUI-100 crosses the finish line and Alinghi are now one win away from their second America’s Cup. Valencia, 30 June 2007. Photo copyright Pierre Orphanidis / Valencia Sailing

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America’s Cup Match – Day 6: Preview

Posted on 30 June 2007 by Valencia Sailing

Good morning from sunny and warm Valencia. It seems we are going to have another nice summer day and racing off the city’s coast should be at least as exciting as yesterday, even if the general feeling among meteorologists is that the breeze will be lighter than Friday.

The 32nd America’s Cup Match is becoming more interesting and absorbing as each day passes and all pundits and presumably knowledgeable experts that were predicting a clean sweep by either team should be more careful next time.

In any case, today’s race is certainly an inflection point in the Match and will seriously tip the balance towards one side or the other. Emirates Team NZ must absolutely win this race or risk seeing Alinghi be a step before winning the world’s oldest sports trophy for a second time. Still, neither of the teams should be extremely satisfied with their performance so far. Alinghi doesn’t have the irrefutable edge on boat speed as many had been speculating while Emirates Team NZ has had gear failures and crew errors that at this level of competition are unforgivable.

ClearPoint weather overview
The ClearPoint weather forecast this morning is not very optimistic. The model (calculated at 9am) predicts around 7 knots from the south east, direction 120 degrees. This is always the forecast for the winds at 3pm in the approximate area of the starting line. It seems the south race area is favored today, but obviously since the Louis Vuitton Cup semifinals, racing takes place only in the north area!!

ClearPoint satellite overview of the Iberian peninsula at 9am Valencia Time. It’s another bright, sunny, summer day.

ClearPoint wind forecast for 3pm in Valencia at 1km resolution, calculated at 9am Valencia Time. The model is currently predicting around 7 knots, direction 120 degrees

Weather forecast by the America’s Cup organizers
Gradient wind continues from the south with good conditions locally for sea breeze development. Similar sea breeze conditions, albeit slightly lighter. Winds start 7-9 knots south southeasterly, building to 10-12 knots and backing to southeast during the race. Some high cloud cover – Temperature 29 degrees

Alinghi’s public weather forecast
Sea breeze conditions, ESE starting from 8-10 knots and increasing to 12-14 knots. Maximum temperature 29°

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America’s Cup Match – Day 5: The view at the top mark

Posted on 29 June 2007 by Valencia Sailing

One of the disadvantages of being aboard the media boat is my inability to be close to the action at the weather mark. Fortunately for Valencia Sailing, most of the close action and incidents so far since April took place at or close to the leeward gate.

Friday’s strong breeze created very exciting moments that were also captured by the lens of renowned Italian photographer Max Ranchi.

Race 5 of the 32nd America’s Cup Match. Valencia, 29 June 2007. Photo copyright Max Ranchi

Race 5 of the 32nd America’s Cup Match. Valencia, 29 June 2007. Photo copyright Max Ranchi

Race 5 of the 32nd America’s Cup Match. Valencia, 29 June 2007. Photo copyright Max Ranchi

Race 5 of the 32nd America’s Cup Match. Valencia, 29 June 2007. Photo copyright Max Ranchi

Race 5 of the 32nd America’s Cup Match. Valencia, 29 June 2007. Photo copyright Max Ranchi

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America’s Cup Match – Day 5: Alinghi score important win after Emirates Team NZ spinnaker problem

Posted on 29 June 2007 by Valencia Sailing

What a day!! If the 3rd race of this America’s Cup Match was probably the most spectacular one ever in the history of the event, today we probably witnessed the second best. We had all we could have asked for; excellent weather (wind speed from 14 up to even 20 knots), an aggressive prestart, close racing, incidents and breakages (lots of them) as well as changes in the lead.

This Friday, the promised Valencian wind conditions made their grand appearance off the Malvarosa coast. As we had said in our morning preview, we had a double whammy, the sea breeze joining forces with a southeasterly gradient wind. When the race committee sounded the preparatory signal, wind speed was 14 knots and direction 125 degrees (right on spot with our forecast).

Since the breeze was significantly steady and shifts were very small, the two teams were not looking for a particular side on the starting line. Instead they focused on getting in front at full speed and as a result the prestart procedure was much more aggressive, particularly the one carried out by Dean Barker. Four minutes before the start, he pushed Ed Baird towards the spectator fleet and after rounding the media boat, NZL-92 came out in a dominating position. They powered ahead to the starting line at full speed while Alinghi had to tack in front of the committee boat, starting 5 seconds late.

A long drag race to the right layline took place and although everyone was expecting Alinghi’s SUI-100 to be storming on all cylinders, NZL-92 was pushed by a small left shift. When the two boats went beyond the layline, the New Zealanders tacked left gaining control of the race. They rounded the top mark a mere 12 seconds ahead of the Swiss and the first run had all the ingredients of a tight race. Unfortunately, a series of spinnaker incidents aboard NZL-92 put an end to that excitement (read here our separate report and photos). After two blown spinnakers and a third “hourglass” hoist by Emirates Team NZ, Alinghi had built an advantage of more than 150m.

With such a gap it is extremely difficult, if not impossible, to recover, unless of course there is a breakage on your opponent’s boat. This was not to be the case with Alinghi who sailed applying a loose but effective cover. The New Zealanders managed to significantly reduce Alinghi’s lead but ultimately the Defender crossed the finish line 19 seconds in advance.

Four minutes before the start, the chasing game begins. Emirates Team NZ is pushing Alinghi towards the spectator fleet. Valencia, 29 June 2007. Photo copyright Pierre Orphanidis / Valencia Sailing

Emirates Team NZ is pushing Alinghi towards the spectator fleet. Valencia, 29 June 2007. Photo copyright Pierre Orphanidis / Valencia Sailing

Emirates Team NZ is pushing Alinghi towards the spectator fleet. Valencia, 29 June 2007. Photo copyright Pierre Orphanidis / Valencia Sailing

Emirates Team NZ is pushing Alinghi towards the spectator fleet. Valencia, 29 June 2007. Photo copyright Pierre Orphanidis / Valencia Sailing

Emirates Team NZ in the prestart of the race. Valencia, 29 June 2007. Photo copyright Pierre Orphanidis / Valencia Sailing

Emirates Team NZ and Alinghi in the prestart of the race, after rounding part of the spectator fleet. Valencia, 29 June 2007. Photo copyright Pierre Orphanidis / Valencia Sailing

Five seconds after the start gun had fired, Emirates Team NZ were sailing at full speed towards the left while Alinghi was off slowly towards the right. Valencia, 29 June 2007. Photo copyright Pierre Orphanidis / Valencia Sailing

Emirates Team NZ tack shortly after the start and the two boats start a long drag race till the right layline. Valencia, 29 June 2007. Photo copyright Pierre Orphanidis / Valencia Sailing

The two boats go beyond the right layline and Emirates Team NZ tack first, ahead of Alinghi. At that moment everybody thought the race was over. Little did we know!! Valencia, 29 June 2007. Photo copyright Pierre Orphanidis / Valencia Sailing

Check here the photo sequence of the spinnaker incident at the beginning of the first run

Alinghi rounded the right leeward gate. Valencia, 29 June 2007. Photo copyright Pierre Orphanidis / Valencia Sailing

Alinghi rounded the right leeward gate. Valencia, 29 June 2007. Photo copyright Pierre Orphanidis / Valencia Sailing

Alinghi rounded the leeward gate 26 seconds ahead of Emirates Team NZ. Valencia, 29 June 2007. Photo copyright Pierre Orphanidis / Valencia Sailing

Alinghi had a comfortable lead at the first cross of the second beat. Valencia, 29 June 2007. Photo copyright Pierre Orphanidis / Valencia Sailing

In the final stretch of the race Emirates Team NZ had significantly reduced Alinghi’s lead. Valencia, 29 June 2007. Photo copyright Pierre Orphanidis / Valencia Sailing

Alinghi cross the finish line and score an extremely important victory. Valencia, 29 June 2007. Photo copyright Pierre Orphanidis / Valencia Sailing

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The spinnaker incident on Emirates Team NZ NZL-92

Posted on 29 June 2007 by Valencia Sailing

The deciding factor in the fifth race of the 32nd America’s Cup Match was the unfortunate incident aboard NZL-92 down the first run. While leading the tight race, Emirates Team NZ blew two spinnakers and by the time they had successfully hoisted the third one, Alinghi had built a lead of over 150 meters. Despite the gains in the succeeding legs, the New Zealanders were unable to come back from behind. Alinghi crossed the finish line 19 seconds ahead of them and won a decisive race. The Defender now leads the Match, 3 to 2.

Here is the full sequence of the incident. Due to the large amount of photos our full report from this very exciting race will be published later in the evening.

At the beginning of the first run, the Emirates Team NZ crew had observed a very small tear on the spinnaker and were about to peel and hoist a new one. Valencia, 29 June 2007. Photo copyright Pierre Orphanidis / Valencia Sailing

Unfortunately, right when they were about to start the procedure, the spinnaker broke. Valencia, 29 June 2007. Photo copyright Pierre Orphanidis / Valencia Sailing

They are hoisting the second spinnaker while dropping the broken first one. Valencia, 29 June 2007. Photo copyright Pierre Orphanidis / Valencia Sailing

The first broken spinnaker is almost dropped but the second one is not hoisted yet. Valencia, 29 June 2007. Photo copyright Pierre Orphanidis / Valencia Sailing

As Grant Dalton said, there was a chaos made out of sailors and spinnakers aboard NZL-92. Valencia, 29 June 2007. Photo copyright Pierre Orphanidis / Valencia Sailing

Adding insult to injury, the second spinnaker blew as well. Valencia, 29 June 2007. Photo copyright Pierre Orphanidis / Valencia Sailing

The second broken spinnaker was blowing and cost Emirates Team NZ precious time. Valencia, 29 June 2007. Photo copyright Pierre Orphanidis / Valencia Sailing

They started hoisting the third spinnaker while the second one was blowing. Valencia, 29 June 2007. Photo copyright Pierre Orphanidis / Valencia Sailing

And as if they didn’t have enough problems, spinnaker number 3 was twisting. Valencia, 29 June 2007. Photo copyright Pierre Orphanidis / Valencia Sailing

Finally the third spinnaker was full but the second was still attached. Valencia, 29 June 2007. Photo copyright Pierre Orphanidis / Valencia Sailing

A whole 5 minutes after the first blow, NZL-92 is finally back to her normal sailing status. Valencia, 29 June 2007. Photo copyright Pierre Orphanidis / Valencia Sailing

Ironically, one hour before the start of the race Emirates Team NZ were practicing spinnaker drops with their two boats. Valencia, 29 June 2007. Photo copyright Pierre Orphanidis / Valencia Sailing

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The spinnaker incident on Emirates Team NZ NZL-92

Posted on 29 June 2007 by Valencia Sailing

The deciding factor in the fifth race of the 32nd America’s Cup Match was the unfortunate incident aboard NZL-92 down the first run. While leading the tight race, Emirates Team NZ blew two spinnakers and by the time they had successfully hoisted the third one, Alinghi had built a lead of over 150 meters. Despite the gains in the succeeding legs, the New Zealanders were unable to come back from behind. Alinghi crossed the finish line 19 seconds ahead of them and won a decisive race. The Defender now leads the Match, 3 to 2.

Here is the full sequence of the incident. Due to the large amount of photos our full report from this very exciting race will be published later in the evening.

At the beginning of the first run, the Emirates Team NZ crew had observed a very small tear on the spinnaker and were about to peel and hoist a new one. Valencia, 29 June 2007. Photo copyright Pierre Orphanidis / Valencia Sailing

Unfortunately, right when they were about to start the procedure, the spinnaker broke. Valencia, 29 June 2007. Photo copyright Pierre Orphanidis / Valencia Sailing

They are hoisting the second spinnaker while dropping the broken first one. Valencia, 29 June 2007. Photo copyright Pierre Orphanidis / Valencia Sailing

The first broken spinnaker is almost dropped but the second one is not hoisted yet. Valencia, 29 June 2007. Photo copyright Pierre Orphanidis / Valencia Sailing

As Grant Dalton said, there was a chaos made out of sailors and spinnakers aboard NZL-92. Valencia, 29 June 2007. Photo copyright Pierre Orphanidis / Valencia Sailing

Adding insult to injury, the second spinnaker blew as well. Valencia, 29 June 2007. Photo copyright Pierre Orphanidis / Valencia Sailing

The second broken spinnaker was blowing and cost Emirates Team NZ precious time. Valencia, 29 June 2007. Photo copyright Pierre Orphanidis / Valencia Sailing

They started hoisting the third spinnaker while the second one was blowing. Valencia, 29 June 2007. Photo copyright Pierre Orphanidis / Valencia Sailing

And as if they didn’t have enough problems, spinnaker number 3 was twisting. Valencia, 29 June 2007. Photo copyright Pierre Orphanidis / Valencia Sailing

Finally the third spinnaker was full but the second was still attached. Valencia, 29 June 2007. Photo copyright Pierre Orphanidis / Valencia Sailing

A whole 5 minutes after the first blow, NZL-92 is finally back to her normal sailing status. Valencia, 29 June 2007. Photo copyright Pierre Orphanidis / Valencia Sailing

Ironically, one hour before the start of the race Emirates Team NZ were practicing spinnaker drops with their two boats. Valencia, 29 June 2007. Photo copyright Pierre Orphanidis / Valencia Sailing

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acm_bmwPreview

America’s Cup Match – Day 5: Preview

Posted on 29 June 2007 by Valencia Sailing

Good morning from sunny Valencia. It seems summer is back and we can enjoy a nice sea breeze day. In addition, we might even have a double whammy, since the easterly sea breeze will be combined with a southerly gradient wind. If this holds true and we do get the expected 14 knots at 3pm, the consensus here in Valencia calls for an “Alignhi” day. That means under these stronger and stabler conditions, SUI-100, the Defender’s all new racing yacht is bound to better perform than NZL-92, her kiwi opponent.

As we wrote yesterday, the America’s Cup Match is back to normal after the Jury dismissed the protest from Emirates Team NZ (scroll down to read the details of the story). The Jury still hasn’t made public the details of its decision and as a result we obviously can’t comment any further. Still, one can only wonder how the measurer aboard SUI-100 allowed an Alinghi crew member to climb on top the mast. Even if all was carried out according to the rules, and according to the Jury that was the case, it is obvious his decision would open the door to all kinds of doubts!!!

In any case, this America’s Cup Match is already in the history books as the closest one ever. We hope it keeps its excitement in the following races and look forward to seeing the strongest team win on the race course and not the Jury room.

acm_bmwPreviewThese journalists and photographers are not waiting for Michael Douglas to come out of his hotel in Valencia. They were standing in front of the ACM offices at 3pm yesterday, waiting for the announcement of the jury decision. Photo courtesy of the BMW Oracle Blog

ClearPoint weather overview
The ClearPoint weather forecast this morning predicts around 13.5 knots from the south east, direction 130 degrees. This is always the forecast for the winds at 3pm in the approximate area of the starting line.

ClearPoint satellite overview of the Iberian peninsula at 9am Valencia Time. It’s a bright, sunny, summer day.

ClearPoint wind forecast for 3pm in Valencia at 1km resolution, calculated at 9am Valencia Time. The model is currently predicting around 13.5 knots, direction 130 degrees

Weather forecast by the America’s Cup organizers
Weak low pressure remains over central Spain, producing light southerly gradient breeze. Sea breeze develops through afternoon, starting southeast 9-12 knots and building 14-18 knots towards the end of the race. Mainly clear skies – Temperature 29 degrees

Alinghi’s public weather forecast
South-easterly sea breeze 12-14 Knots, T max 28°

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acm_bmwPreview

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America’s Cup Match – Day 5: Preview

Posted on 29 June 2007 by Valencia Sailing

Good morning from sunny Valencia. It seems summer is back and we can enjoy a nice sea breeze day. In addition, we might even have a double whammy, since the easterly sea breeze will be combined with a southerly gradient wind. If this holds true and we do get the expected 14 knots at 3pm, the consensus here in Valencia calls for an “Alignhi” day. That means under these stronger and stabler conditions, SUI-100, the Defender’s all new racing yacht is bound to better perform than NZL-92, her kiwi opponent.

As we wrote yesterday, the America’s Cup Match is back to normal after the Jury dismissed the protest from Emirates Team NZ (scroll down to read the details of the story). The Jury still hasn’t made public the details of its decision and as a result we obviously can’t comment any further. Still, one can only wonder how the measurer aboard SUI-100 allowed an Alinghi crew member to climb on top the mast. Even if all was carried out according to the rules, and according to the Jury that was the case, it is obvious his decision would open the door to all kinds of doubts!!!

In any case, this America’s Cup Match is already in the history books as the closest one ever. We hope it keeps its excitement in the following races and look forward to seeing the strongest team win on the race course and not the Jury room.

acm_bmwPreviewThese journalists and photographers are not waiting for Michael Douglas to come out of his hotel in Valencia. They were standing in front of the ACM offices at 3pm yesterday, waiting for the announcement of the jury decision. Photo courtesy of the BMW Oracle Blog

ClearPoint weather overview
The ClearPoint weather forecast this morning predicts around 13.5 knots from the south east, direction 130 degrees. This is always the forecast for the winds at 3pm in the approximate area of the starting line.

ClearPoint satellite overview of the Iberian peninsula at 9am Valencia Time. It’s a bright, sunny, summer day.

ClearPoint wind forecast for 3pm in Valencia at 1km resolution, calculated at 9am Valencia Time. The model is currently predicting around 13.5 knots, direction 130 degrees

Weather forecast by the America’s Cup organizers
Weak low pressure remains over central Spain, producing light southerly gradient breeze. Sea breeze develops through afternoon, starting southeast 9-12 knots and building 14-18 knots towards the end of the race. Mainly clear skies – Temperature 29 degrees

Alinghi’s public weather forecast
South-easterly sea breeze 12-14 Knots, T max 28°

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