Yachting: Swiss shrug off America's Cup loss

GENEVA - Alinghi's loss in the America's Cup stirred little emotion in the Swiss team's home country today, where many fans had tired of the protracted court battles surrounding the competition.

Alinghi's 2-0 defeat to BMW Oracle yesterday was instead overshadowed in the local media by the victory of Swiss ski jumper Simon Ammann at the Vancouver Olympics.

Alinghi's 2003 victory and a thrilling second win in 2007 over New Zealand had captured the public's interest in this landlocked nation of mountains and lakes.

But some commentators expressed relief that the 2010 competition had ended, given the long-running court saga between Oracle and Alinghi which many felt had been negative for the sport.

Others noted that Oracle made the better strategic decision to add a wing sail, which eventually made Larry Ellison's Oracle trimaran faster than Ernesto Bertarelli's catamaran for Alinghi.

"Oracle's technology puts an end to Alinghi's fabulous epic," read a headline in the Geneva daily Le Temps.

"The superiority of the American plane, which powered by its rigid sail has humiliated the Swiss catamaran, resembles the two years of competition in court," the paper said in an editorial.

"Larry Ellison and Russell Coutts succeeded in recapturing a trophy on the water that they would have eventually received in court anyway."

Walter Rüegsegger, writing for Swiss daily Neue Zuercher Zeitung paid tribute to Oracle's Kiwi chief executive and former Alinghi skipper Russell Coutts who won his fourth America's Cup, equalling the record set by US skipper Dennis Connor.

"When Russell Coutts takes part in an America's Cup, he wins it," Rüegsegger said.

"The New Zealander managed to unify a team formerly beset by years of quarrels and bad results on the water."

Zurich daily Tages-Anzeiger noted the end "of the most successful chapter of Swiss sailing history," saying "the bitter duel of the super-rich has a new winner."

- AP, NZ HERALD STAFF


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