Back in 2003 I was asked for a prediction for the Cup final between Alinghi and Team New Zealand. I said 5-0 to the Swiss Kiwis and everyone laughed. The result? 5-0 to the Russell & Brad show. So, on the evidence of today’s on-the-water tune-up races, what’s my prediction? 5-0 to the Kiwis. Slam dunk. Blackwash. Game over. The challengers are so far behind that this will be the easiest Cup since Russ smoked the Hula. To be honest, the challengers might as well pack up and go home. Te Rehutai (which means ‘Flipping Fast’ in Maori) sails higher and faster upwind and lower and faster downwind. It gets up on its foils more rapidly than anyone else and turns corners on a sixpence. It’s just plain fast. No getting away from it. Bloody awesome to watch.
In the line-up against American Magic, TNZ started slowly but just went through the gears and within a couple of minutes was level before easing ahead, going through the motions and not even putting the pedal to the floor. The Italians looked tasty upwind but absolutely dog slow downwind and again TNZ just smoked past and once ahead, eased back and cruised. A devastating performance and the clearest indication of just how far off the pace the challengers are.
The only unknown is the pace of Ratty’s Rita who suffered a mechanical today and sat on the sidelines watching intently with hunched body language, plenty of conspiratory huddles and a dawning reality that this is a one horse race. They all look beaten before the first gun has started.
Credit to the Kiwis, they are blooming good at this game.