Covering Their Asses
Alinghi finished its victorious run in the Challenger finals of the Louis Vuitton Pacific Series with a red flag flying. Its protest related to the manner in which the regatta had been established regarding to allotment of boats to competitors.
The Swiss team had determined that of the Emirates Team New Zealand boats to be used for the final, NZL-92 was faster than NZL-84 despite the Kiwis’ efforts to match the boats exactly. Emirates Team New Zealand Managing Director, Grant Dalton, was equally adamant that there was nothing between the boats. “We can show them the ‘snail trails’ of all the races so far,’ he said, “:and those will show conclusively that their speeds are equal.’
Nevertheless Alinghi progressed its protest which was heard at 1330 local time. An open press conference was called for 1430 and the journalists were informed that the protest hearing had been adjourned until after the draw for boats, which followed the press conference.
Bruno Trouble, who together with Dalton, has organised this “friendly regatta” drew one name from an ice-bucket to determine who should chose either the end of the line to start or the choice of boat. The name was – Alinghi. Brad Butterworth, with a smirk on his face, announced that he would make the choice of boat and that it would be NZL-92!
A word with the Chairman of the International Jury, Dyer Jones, revealed that Alinghi had indicated that it no longer wished to progress its protest. Surprise, surprise! After all, this is the team that failed to front in its second round robin match with Emirates Team New Zealand because there were no positive points available and there was the risk of losing one if a “hard contact” was made with the other boat.
Now it has the boat it wants for the entire final series of races. Is it therefore any surprise that there is a smile on the face of the tiger? Bob Fisher.