Wed, Feb 04, 2009 - Page 19 News List

Shosholoza stun Cup holders Alinghi

MASSIVE UNDERDOGS The previously winless South Africans produced the biggest winning margin of the Pacific Series so far, handing Alinghi their second defeat

AP , AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND

Team Shosholoza from South Africa prepare to raise their spinnaker during the fifth round robin of the Louis Vuitton Pacific Cup Series in Auckland, New Zealand, yesterday.

PHOTO: AFP

South Africa? Team Shosholoza has produced a stunning win over America? Cup holders Alinghi in the biggest margin so far at the Pacific Series sailing regatta.

Shosholoza was without a win in four races at the sailing regatta when it encountered the star-貞tudded Alinghi crew yesterday, the final day of the regatta? first round robin.

They entered the match race as massive underdogs but emerged with a three minute, 49 second win ?the largest of the regatta to date ?by taking advantage of light, shifty conditions on a tricky inshore course.

Alinghi skipper Brad Butterworth, born and raised in Auckland, was considered the leading expert on sailing conditions in the city? Waitemata Harbor, but it was the South Africans who best read the wind changes in the race.

Shosholoza? Italian helmsman Paolo Cian first dominated the start to give his team the favored right side of the course, building a lead of more than 200m on the first beat.

Alinghi then sailed into a lull at the bottom mark, made a poor spinnaker drop and watched as Shosholoza built a margin which at one point was more than a kilometer.

The South Africans still led by almost 700m at the finish.

Cian praised tactician and compatriot Tomasso Chieffi and New Zealander Cameron Appleton for their shrewd analysis of conditions.

?hey did an amazing job,?he said. ?t was very tricky, very difficult, not only the shifts, but there were lulls and puffs coming all over. They didn? miss a single call.?br />

Team New Zealand and Britain? Team Origin retained their unbeaten records on the final day of the first round robin.

Host Team New Zealand beat France? Pataugas K-Challenge by 1 minute, 38 seconds to finish at the top of pool A, while Team 胝rigin beat the Greek Challenge by 58 seconds to head pool B.

San Francisco? Oracle Racing clinched second place in pool A by beating the Damiani Italia Challenge by 55 seconds.

The 10 competing teams now split into a gold fleet of five and silver fleet of four for the second round of racing. Team New Zealand progresses directly to the final. The gold fleet, comprising Alinghi, Team Origin, Oracle, Luna Rossa and the Italia Challenge, will compete to determine seedings for a sailoff to determine the other finalist.

The top team from the silver fleet will also contest the sailoff.

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