Solid boatspeed, nearly flawless tactics and crisp crew work resulted in two bullets for Alinghi in the 2nd day of the Desafío Trophy. It is true that the other 3 teams might not be the formidable Emirates Team New Zealand the Swiss faced last year in the America’s Cup, on the same waters, but today’s Alinghi was definitely a notch closer to its former self.
The second day of the Desafío Trophy took place under considerably better conditions than yesterday. First of all the first race was postponed by less than an hour and the second race got underway under an easterly breeze of almost 12 knots. Still, it was tricky and shifty. Alinghi won both races and is now leading overall with 6 points. Right behind them with 10 points is Luna Rossa that scored two seconds. Team Origin is third with 11 points and Desafío is at the bottom of the leaderboard with 13.
Two races are scheduled for Sunday but with a time limit at 3:30pm and a possible repeat of today’s wind conditions it is more than likely that only one will take place. In any case, Alinghi has to sail awfully in order not to win the Trophy. The question of course is to what point these results are meaningful. Still, it is a good training and marketing opportunity, after a long hiatus. Desafío for example always has two guests aboard ESP-97 in each race.
Race 1The first race of the day, third of the event, got underway after an one-hour postponement as the race committee waited for the breeze to pick up to 6 knots. Under these light and shifty conditions, Alinghi and Luna Rossa got ahead from the start, playing the left shift and rounded the top mark ahead of Desafío and Team Origin that had opted for the right. From that point, the order remained unchanged and there was little Luna Rossa could do to pass Alinghi.
Race 2What happens when you get nice opportunities and you miss them? Ask Paul Cayard and the Desafío crew. The Spanish had an excellent start, showed good speed and were ahead in the first crossings. Halfway through the first beat they went to find the left shift they anticipated while the other 3 boats stayed on the right. Unfortunately for the Spanish, the left didn’t pay and as a result slipped to 3rd in the top mark. Alinghi and Luna Rossa were ahead. The Defender extended its lead over the Italians in the 1st run and stayed ahead. Desafío got it wrong again in the 2nd beat, giving Team Origin the opportunity to pass them. Despite an intense gybing duel in the final run, the Spanish couldn’t climb up, finishing last.
The missed opportunities Paul Cayard was talking about. Desafío had an excellent first half in the first beat but then rounded the top mark third. Valencia, 8 November 2008. Photo copyright Pierre Orphanidis / Valencia Sailing
They might be a little bit rusty but it took Alinghi’s crew just one day to get back in form. The spinnaker drop in the leeward gate was probably the best example of crisp crew work so far. Valencia, 8 November 2008. Photo copyright Pierre Orphanidis / Valencia Sailing
The last leg saw an intense gybing duel between Team Origin and Desafío. A couple of sloppy gybes by the Spanish team gave the British the opportunity to finish 3rd. Valencia, 8 November 2008. Photo copyright Pierre Orphanidis / Valencia Sailing