America’s Cup winging its way back to the US

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The Independent Online

The America’s Cup is winging its way back to the United States after a display of raw power and design refinement that gave Larry Ellison’s trimaran, USA, a 2-0 whitewash against Ernesto Bertarelli’s Swiss catamaran, Alinghi.

Ellison and his ceo, Sir Russell Coutts, winning the Cup for a record fourth time and for his third team, were both on board for the 39-mile triangular race. “It’s an awesome feeling, I couldn’t be more proud of my team,” said Ellison.

The reign of the only European holder of a trophy first contested around the Isle of Wight in 1851, is over. The first time the Americans won it they held it for 132 years, the second time that was reduced to eight years. The future is to be unveiled, but it looks certain that there will be no repeat of the vast, and vastly expensive, multihulls seen in a match born out of extended, expensive and bitter litigation through the New York courts.

There will be extensive consultation with many other teams wishing to rejoin the fray, including Britain’s Team Origin, headed by 2012 Olympic Games powerbroker Sir Keith Mills and skippered by three times Olympic gold medallist Ben Ainslie.

The Swiss billionaire, who had swept all before him to win the historic trophy in 2000 in Auckland and defend it in Valencia in 2003, only briefly matched the speed of the Coutts-inso Americans in the second of the best of three.

The Cup holder was 24 seconds behind at the start, 28 seconds behind at the first mark and 2 mins 44 at the second mark. By the finish it was 5 mins 26 sec, after Alinghi completed a penalty turn.

Once again the Swiss team managed to shoot itself in the foot with a penalty against them even before the race had begun, this time for being in the start area when they should not have been. Once again it made no difference to the outcome of the race.

Alinghi hoisted a protest flag 47 minutes into the first leg, but then chose not to pursue it.