America’s Cup-Race 4

All square at 2-2. Is that the first time in 32 America’s Cup’s? I think it is. Someone will correct me if I am wrong.

We saw a determined Alinghi out on the course today. Brad Butterworth returned to his top level tactical brilliance and with the narrowest of leads off the starting line, the Swiss managed the race perfectly. Always in front, but always challenged by Team New Zealand. The largest margin was 110 meters and there were no particular events during the day. Just a slow and steady construction of victory in what was almost a “must win” race for Alinghi.

2-2 is a world apart from 3-1. Now it is a best of 5 series. The first to win three. Short and sweet.

Tomorrow is a lay day. For Alinghi, getting the series square makes the day off, a welcome rest. They have gotten through a rough beginning to the series but probably still feel slightly superior to the Kiwis over all.

The Kiwis lost today but have to feel very good about their performance in the first four races. All experts gave the Kiwis little hope of winning a single race before the series started and here they are at 2-2. The speed of the boats is very even and the Kiwis are certainly in a position to win and take the Cup back home with them.

The good thing for all of us is that this is a series! Plenty more good spectating coming up!

After the finish, there was a request by the measurement committee for both boats to drop their mainsails without sending a man aloft. Normally a halyard is attached to the sail at the end of each day’s racing to lower the mainsail. But there is a class rule that requires each yacht capable of dropping its mainsail from the deck by way of a “trip” mechanism for safety reasons. Team New Zealand complied immediately while Alinghi actually had to send a man up the mast in order to drop the sail. This seemed absurd to all of us here. How obviously in contravention of the request of the officials. I think this one will get discussed long into the night.

What could come of this? Disqualification of Alinghi for non-compliance? I doubt it. Re-race the race? Maybe. That is what happened with Mascalzone and Desafio earlier in the Louis Vuitton Cup. A fine? Maybe. How much would be an appropriate fine? Standby. We may not be done with Race 4.

No race tomorrow, so I will be back on Friday with a report on Race 5.

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