June 27, 2007
Team New Zealand have won the third yacht race in the bid for America's Cup, beating the defending champion, Swiss syndicate, Alinghi. Sport commentators and yachties are describing the win as one of the greatest races in the history of the Cup.
Team New Zealand finished the race 25 seconds ahead of Alinghi, despite the leader changing three times throughout the race. This new win for Team New Zealand puts the overall score at 2 wins for Team New Zealand and one win for Alinghi. The winner of the America's Cup will be the first to reach five wins.
By the first mark of the race, Team New Zealand had a lead of one minute and 23 seconds. However, at this turn, their spinnaker got caught in the genoa gear and Richard Meacham, mid bowman, almost went over board. Due to this mistake, Alinghi were able to catch up and lead the second mark by 15 seconds. Grant Dalton, head of Team New Zealand, said, "The trouble we had at the leeward mark let [Alinghi] back into the race and [Team New Zealand] paid the price."
But Team New Zealand managed to win, 25 seconds in front. Team New Zealand navigator, Kevin Hall said, "My heart rate would be doing about 180 right now but it's nice to be towing in and looking at them back there instead of in front of us like they were in the second beat."
The head of Alinghi, Ernesto Bertarelli believes that the race committee should not have started the race, which it did so at 4:59 p.m.. The race cannot be announced after 5.00 p.m.. "We waited for two hours..."
Team New Zealand strategist, Ray Davies said, "There was certainly a bit of dice rolling."
President of the Nelson Marlborough Yachting Association, Doug Mckee described the race as the most exciting one since Australia winning the America's Cup when the Australians won the Auld Mug from the New York Yacht Club who had held it for 132 years. "We are definitely good enough to win the cup."
Hall said, "It probably hasn't happened very often that you see three passes in an America's Cup race. It's a testament to the strength of both teams."
The wind speed was around 8-9 knots.
Alinghi beat Team New Zealand in 2003, also winning the America's Cup in Auckland, New Zealand.