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Tuesday, 4 February, 2003, 11:54 GMT
Will Alinghi sink home hopes?
Team Alinghi take on Team New Zealand in the America's Cup
Alinghi take a 3-0 lead over Team New Zealand in the America's Cup on Auckland's Hauraki Gulf

Who do you think will lift the trophy?

Have your say

Swiss challengers Alinghi took a 3-0 lead in the America's Cup as they beat Team New Zealand by 23 seconds in the latest race

Alinghi have mega-rich owner Ernesto Bertarelli as their benefactor - and now need two wins to take the Auld Mug.

He courted controversy a couple of years ago by poaching skipper Russell Coutts and navigator Brad Butterworth from Team NZ's last America's Cup winning boat.

The move has paid off as Alinghi race into a 3-0 lead in the best-of-nine series.

But home fans will be hoping Dean Barker and his team can pull off a remarkable recovery.

Who are you tipping to win the Auld Mug?

Have your say

Jane Read - who is the fool now? Race one nearly sunk. Race two great comeback by Alinghi and race three - just sooooooo easy.

As for sporting. Hah! The Blackhearts really show New Zealand's inferiority complex and bias for exactly what it is. Shameful. NZ are unbearable - winning or losing, and are the most one-eyed unfair supporters on the face of the earth.

How does 5-0 sound? At least you can say "we came second" as usual.
Jason McIlvena, Australia

Down three-zip does not look good for TNZ but sport is littered with stories of memorable turn-a-rounds and last gasp recoveries. Let's face it New Zealand has reinvented the America's Cup. They gave us the 'plastic fantastic' in '87, the 'big boat' in '93, two outright speed machines in '95 and '99 and now essentially two finalists (7 NZ'ers on Alinghi including core of the afterguard).

The event has been reborn in New Zealand by average New Zealanders embracing an event that for 100 years was the domain of the privileged rich. Of course sailing in NZ is an accessible and affordable sport hence the huge hometown support and turnout on the racecourse. If the Cup does head to Europe we owe a big thank you to the NZ'ers and the Australians for recreating this classic sporting duel.

But it is not over yet, and having been belted into submission on the rugby field by the Kiwis I know how determined their high performance sports people are.

I do not believe there is any difference in boat speed; in fact TNZ sails faster but slightly lower than the Swiss. I'm backing an upset from here on in and 5-4 to the Kiwis (the ones on the 'hula' boat of course).
Charles Daly, Englishman in Singapore

I'm still struggling to find any area of my life that has been enriched by having the Americas Cup here

Gary Chiles, New Zealand

It would have to be the Swiss - Imagine one of Europe's smallest land locked countries defeating the bullish and over confident Kiwi's in the "City of Sails".
Mike, South Africa

No problems if the Cup goes north, just a shame that the principles in that scenario are fellow New Zealanders. But it will be interesting to see a European staged America's Cup spectacle.

It would have been nice if the majority on the Swiss boat were representative of Switzerland. But maybe, just maybe, after the Cup is installed in Switzerland, Brad and Russell are offered a humungous amount to......take the cup off the Swiss..........ahem.
Graeme, New Zealand

Well, now up 3-0, it looks like New Zealanders (that make up at least half the Alinghi crew), will win the cup for Switzerland. That's the nature of International sport (if you can call it that) now!

Just look at the English Premier League (soccer); the focus on foreign imports probably impoverishes England's own national side, so much so, that Australia had no trouble beating them at their own game!
Zane, Perth, Australia

I'm still struggling to find any area of my life that has been enriched by having the Americas Cup here. It only seems to attract mega-rich people with absolutely no sign of any human compassion or any sense of social responsibility. I won't miss them one little bit.
Gary Chiles, New Zealand

TNZ and their Black Heart campaign have done themselves no favours

Tim Quinn, Plymouth, UK

Alinghi may be sailing under the Swiss flag, but we all know that the only reason they are there is down to the Kiwi's. The America's Cup is not NZ vs Switzerland; it is Russell Coutts vs Dean Barker.

It is hard to imagine that TNZ could come back, but it isn't over until the finish gun goes on the last race, we still have a chance. It is all up to how it goes on the day. I have faith that TNZ can do it!! Go guys and show them the never say die Kiwi spirit!!
Wendy Gilchrist, New Zealand

TNZ and their Black Heart campaign have done themselves no favours. Yes Alinghi are only there because they can throw disgusting amounts of money at the sport and have enticed crew men from other countries, but TNZ isn't a shoe-string operation.

If I'm right I believe they contain Americans, South Africans and even an Australians, so stop being so hypocritical and accept that ACC is all about billionaires trying to prove they have the biggest wads.
Tim Quinn, Plymouth, UK

I don't think that money alone makes a good sailor as you suggest in your articles. Bertarelli is a sportsman in his own rights. And there are more good sailing sportsmen in Switzerland besides Bertarelli (four times winner Bol d'Or). Think of Pierre Fehlman (three-times challenger for America's Cup and winner of many other races), Dominique Wavre (Vendée Globe winner 2000/01) an so on.

Switzerland may not have a seashore, but has many lakes and lots of great wind conditions where sailing is not necessarily easier than on sea.
Myriam Schweingruber, Switzerland

The Sunday race televised here on ESPN was one of the most exciting sailing races I've ever seen on TV. I felt like I was in the cockpit.

My money is on the Swiss. The Swiss seem to have the cleverer team. Who says sailboat racing has to be dull? I am looking forward to the upcoming races, and I hope they remain as close and enthralling.
Nelson Vaughan, Chatham, New Jersey USA

Too much over-confidence by TNZ and the NZ public

Lindsay Addie, New Zealand

I can see it now. I am sitting in a lake side cafe in Montreux. The night before I went to the Jazz Festival and now I am waiting to see the Swiss defend their massacre of NZ back in 2003. What I hear you say?

What - a yachting race on a Lake in Switzerland. But why not? No one thought that the land-locked Swiss could ever beat the Land of the wrong white cloud. But they did.
Tim Evans, Japan

TNZ must be feeling deflated now that their rule bending "hula" has failed to give them an unfair advantage. With even boat speeds at least we have a sporting contest in which Alinghi have an important psychological advantage. Despite playing it straight they are 2-0 up. I hope they make it 5-0.
Steve Coombes, Thailand

Too much over-confidence by TNZ and the NZ public. Very bad luck to have the boat break after only 10 minutes.
Lindsay Addie, New Zealand

Well, well, well, now that was one for the books. Alinghi made Team New Zealand look like a bunch of Hooray Henries! Firstly, I can't believe the amount of water that boat was taking in. Surely the boat had been sailed in those conditions before?

With Alinghi's Coutts at the helm it will prove to be a nail-biting end to the series

Martin Shew, Sydney

Then the experimental boom issue. What were they thinking? Surely when it comes down to the wire, you use something that is tried and tested. Perhaps Team New Zealand has become a little too cocksure? Go Alinghi, I too would like the AC to go to Europe.
Louzanne Sharp, South African in Canada

Barring major disaster on the water Team New Zealand will hold on to the America's Cup. It is unlikely Alinghi will go down 5-0, the conditions could cause things to go either way on a race by race basis.

However, the overall speed advantage TNZ have will see them through in the finish. Come on boys, keep the Cup where it rightfully belongs.
Tim Nunn, Kiwi in UK

It's going to be a very close series. With Alinghi's Coutts at the helm and with years of experience behind him, it will prove to be a nail-biting end to the series.

I applaud Dean Barker and the rest of his capable team from rising from the ashes (of what was Team New Zealand) and metamorphosing into a world class set of sailors.

They may lack experience but it's their enthusiasm, that is inherent in all successful Kiwis, that will provide drive and inspiration. Today's setback was a soul-searching exercise - regroup and learn. Go TNZ and keep the Cup in the beautiful City of Sails!
Martin Shew, Sydney, Australia

The Kiwis are certain they have the team and the boat to match Alinghi

Bev, Australia

Too close to call. Alinghi have two great advantages in Russell Coutts and Brad Butterworth, as well as several months of tough racing behind them.

Team New Zealnd will do very well to pull this one off and if they do, will they ever lose the thing? Fingers crossed for a Kiwi victory.
David, Sweden

I have just spent eight weeks in New Zealand. During that time it was clear the Kiwis were certain they had the team and the boat to match Alinghi.

Today's disaster must have been a huge blow. I hope they rebound and take it to the challengers. I want a close contest but I think they will need everything to go well and win.

Their biggest hurdle will be the media/supporters reaction. If they survive that they surely have the strength to bag five wins.
Bev, Australia

Hula Hula! Allinghis gonna do yer (NZ). They may have a faster boat but the idea is not to sink!
Sam Shackell, UK in NZ

Perhaps the idiot from Australia, Jason, could tell us what happened to the last Australian boat? Hmm, I think it sank. Good effort Aussies.

At least New Zealand understands that there is more to sport than money - it's called sportsmanship - but then Australia struggles to understand that concept too.

Go team New Zealand, what fantastic ambassadors you are for NZ, and what a great loyal country.
Jane Read, New Zealand

How can a boat (Alinghi) which is only a progression of beaten 2000 syndicates with some NZL60 secrets, beat a boat (Team New Zealand) which is so far removed from the progressive research on every aspect of NZL60 that it is a new concept of ACC boat altogether?

NZL60 is not even worthy as a transport boat in the TNZ programme. They really needed to think outside their box of water if they are to compete with TNZ. Still with Coutts at the helm it will be close.
Herbert Tanuvasa, New Zealand

If the boats are even close to equal boat speed I give Coutts the edge. But those Kiwis seem to make nice boats. I just hope it's not a sweep either way with good close races.
Dean Forsythe, USA (Newport, RI)

TNZ will annihilate Alinghi 5-0 if the wind is steady and above 10 knots. Alinghi have only progressed as far as they have because of the incompetence of all the other challengers.

I am desperate to see the competition in Europe

Justin Biddle, UK

I believe the faster boat will win and have absolute confidence that Schnack & his designers have produced the fastest. Schnack is a GOD and whoever employs him will win. The young TNZ crew are not that important to the final outcome if they can avoid penalties.
Graham Woulfe, Wellingtonian in Canada

Team NZ to win by 5-0 over Alinghi. Major differences in boat speed will give NZ a huge advantage and win. The NZ Team can "HULA" along and win in style. Go Kiwis. Cheers, Topaz, Hamilton NZ
Topaz, New Zealand

Alinghi - Firstly because I am desperate to see the competition in Europe, and secondly because I have been impressed by Alinghi's calm, development programme and TNZ seem to be in a state of some unrest - Go Alinghi - Go Europe!
Justin Biddle, UK

Alinghi to win, they have the advantage of coming through a tough challengers competition and with Coutt's as skipper New Zealand will not have the home advantage of previous races. Come on Alinghi; bring the cup back to Europe!
Macca, UK

I have great confidence in Tom Schnack

Matt, New Zealand

Team New Zealand will win no doubts. Their boats are faster and Russel Couts probably knows he made the wrong choice, years before.
Eduardo Hollanda, Brazil

Team New Zealand will win because they are a talented hardworking team not a bunch of overpaid mercenaries brought together by a billionaire.
Richard Asboe, New Zealand

Team New Zealand to win, but I doubt it will be a 5-0 margin like in 1995 and 2000. I expect the losing boat to pick up at least one or two wins. Such is the nature of the Hauraki Gulf, anything is possible.

I hope TNZ comes through, if not - New Zealand can most likely kiss goodbye any future America's Cup challenge. With the huge costs of putting up a challenge, the fact that the America's Cup is the latest plaything for the world's biggest billionaires - and the fact that Alinghi will want to change the Cup to take it in a more F1 kind of format - NZ wouldn't stand a chance. New Zealanders would be winning the cup for every nation but their own.

But in any case, I have great confidence in Tom Schnack - he is a genius in terms of technical sailing. And I do trust the design team. Coutts and Butterworth are good, but I am confident that our young team can do it.
Matt, New Zealand

Does anyone care? With one New Zealand team taking on another even the hope that the next America's Cup might be hosted in a more suitable location (one that has wind for example) has become a remote possibility. Lake Geneva if Alinghi wins?

Team New Zealand will be pushed by the cash driven Swiss entry

Dion Cassin-Hunt, England

I doubt it. More likely it'll be back to Yawnauraki Gulf for more of the same slo-mo events and endless cancelled race days we've put up with over the past six months.
Chris Wheatley, New Zealand

Gee Cammy - you are a brain surgeon. If faster they will win? Certainly helps!

Best thing is if Alinghi wins it will be a NZ skipper taking the Cup away from Auckland. What a laugh. You'd think the Kiwis would get their house in order after letting the Rugby World Cup slip through their fingers.

There's money where these events are. And NZ don't seem to want it. Best thing would be to get Stephen Fleming on the opposition boat - he knows how to play for a loss.
Jason McIlvena, Australia

Team New Zealand will be pushed by the cash driven Swiss entry, but ultimately the Kiwis are the greatest yachting nation in the world and even with Coutts and Butterworth on board, I foresee a close but sound victory to the mighty "Team New Zealand".
Dion Cassin-Hunt, England

Let's not analyse it too much you yachties from Jafaland. Team New Zealand to win at a canter.
Paul, Wellington, New Zealand

I believe that Alinghi can pull it off with their knowledge of all sea conditions

Chris Gibson, UK

It looks like a tough call with a whole lot of experience at the top of the very impressive Alinghi Team, which so far has breezed through tough teams in the LV Cup.

I believe that Alinghi can pull it off with large diversity in their team and knowledge of all sea conditions. Team New Zealand however have moral advantage as they fight it out in their territory and extreme support. Get ready for the battle of a lifetime! Good Luck to all! More to team NZ!
Chris Gibson, UK

Team NZ will need to be faster to win. Dean Barker and his tactician Hamish Pepper are great mates but both young and could crack under severe pressure. But if their boat can get away from Alinghi upwind, they will sail brilliantly. No stupid mistakes from them and they'll win handsomely.
Tom Mulvey, New Zealand

If Team New Zealand is faster they will win. If they are the same speed or a very similar speed, Alinghi should win.
Cammy, New Zealand

Yes Alinghi can pose a serious threat unlike Prada during the last defence of the Cup. The main advantage under the rules is that the defender has the home conditions advantage. But this has been effectively negated as Russell Coutts and Brad Butterworth know the home conditions better than anyone in Team NZ.

Also they know Team NZ's secrets and tactics inside out. Yacht racing is design wise is similar to Formula One. What would happen to the performance of the Ferrari car if Schumacher left? I expect an extremely close series.
Anand Reddy, Aucklander in London

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