27 Jun 2007

Team New Zealand take lead in Americas Cup series

10:07 am on 27 June 2007

Team New Zealand has beaten Alinghi by 25 seconds in a classic America's Cup race, recovering from a poor spinnaker drop which nearly ended their race, to take a 2-1 lead over the Swiss defender in the best-of-nine series.

With both crews having to cope with a rolling sea swell and a shifting breeze of 8-9 knots Team New Zealand had left Alinghi trailing by one minute and 23 seconds by the first upwind mark.

But Alinghi showed better speed on the first downwind leg and a bad spinnaker drop at the half-way mark soon meant NZL92's lead was under pressure.

Alinghi broke back in front and the lead moved back and forth as the boats fought a fierce battle up to the final windward mark which Alinghi rounded first to enjoy a 15 second lead.

But the Swiss team could not hold their lead on the last leg with Team New Zealand making the most of the shifting winds to win the race by nearly half a minute.