Alinghi won the 32nd Americas Cup today, beating Team New Zealand by one second! Alinghi was comfortably ahead on the last downwind leg with Team New Zealand still owing a penalty turn; it looked like the race was in the bag. Then, the wind shifted upwind. Team New Zealand dropped their spinnaker (the downwind sail) and put up their jib; Alinghi tried to do the same and ran into trouble, with their spinnaker flailing and pole out of control. They got caught in a light wind hole and New Zealand went past. TNZ did a double-tack for their penalty turn (unusual since typically boats will do a 360 - armchair sailors will be debating this forever) and were racing toward the line. Alinghi got their speed up just in time to nose over the line, ahead by a second. It's incredible that after about 90 minutes, these two boats were only a second apart.
This has been the most amazing Americas Cup. Alinghi won 5-2, but each race was fantastic. The boats were well matched for speed despite all the rumors of Alinghi's boats being half a generation ahead. Alinghi simply executed better. The commentators can't stop gushing about what a fantastic final this has been.
So, congratulations to Alinghi for defending their title and keeping the oldest trophy in sports. Also, kudos to Team New Zealand for doing such a great job through the Louis Vuittons and the AC.
Wow. I can't wait for 2011...