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Narrow defeat for Alinghi crew

The Alinghi crew were unbeaten until the final.

(Nations Cup)

Switzerland's Alinghi sailing team have suffered a close defeat to Team New Zealand in the final of the Nations Cup in Trieste, Italy.

The Swiss boat, financed and navigated by Geneva billionaire Ernesto Bertarelli, is being tipped as the likely challenger to Team New Zealand in next year's America's Cup. And if the Nations Cup is anything to go by, the competition between the two crews is set to be fierce.

Skippered by their own New Zealander, Russel Coutts, the multi-national Alinghi team got off to a strong start in the best-of-five final, winning the opening race by four seconds.

The America's Cup holders, skippered by Coutts' former apprentice Dean Barker, struck back in the second race however, winning by a similarly close margin.

The third race was the closest of all and saw Team New Zealand draw level with the Swiss boat during the last few metres. With the competition jury unable to separate the two crews, the race was decreed a draw.

Having dominated the round robin and semi-final stages with six victories from six races, the Swiss team were then to come undone in the last two races with Barker's men snatching the decisive points to deny Coutts a second Nations Cup victory.

Team Alinghi are bidding to become the first ever European outfit to win the America's Cup. They are set to begin their campaign in earnest on October 1 with the start of the Louis Vuitton Cup.

Only the winners of the Louis Vuitton Cup will get the chance to take on Team New Zealand when the America's Cup itself gets underway in February 2003.

swissinfo with agencies

Dead heat

The third race was the closest of all and saw Team New Zealand draw level with the Swiss boat during the last few metres. With the competition jury unable to separate the two crews, the race was decreed a draw.

Having dominated the round robin and semi-final stages with six victories from six races, the Swiss team were then to come undone in the last two races with Barker's men snatching the decisive points to deny Coutts a second Nations Cup victory.

Team Alinghi are bidding to become the first ever European outfit to win the America's Cup. They are set to begin their campaign in earnest on October 1 with the start of the Louis Vuitton Cup.

Only the winners of the Louis Vuitton Cup will get the chance to take on Team New Zealand when the America's Cup itself gets underway in February 2003.

swissinfo with agencies

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