is it really a sport?
<A name=rv1>VALENCIA, Spain (Reuters) -- Alinghi beat Team New Zealand in the first race of the 32nd America's Cup on Saturday in a tight fight that set the scene for a close best-of-nine battle for sailing's most coveted prize.
The boats crossed the starting line almost simultaneously and held each other off for most of the first beat until Alinghi found a little extra pressure on the left of the course.
Alinghi turned the upwind mark 13 seconds ahead and then showed the major gain on their new boat SUI100, which picked up and shot downwind like the "rocketship" it was rumored to be.
Team New Zealand ate away at Alinghi's advantage as they headed back upwind but again the Swiss defenders stretched away on the last downwind beat and crossed the finish line 35 seconds ahead.
Alinghi skipper Brad Butterworth, who has won the last three America's Cups, was smiling broadly during the last few gybes as the crew put more blue water between them and the Kiwis.
"It was a tricky old day today, quite shifty," said Team New Zealand crew member Adam Beashel. "We feel we were right in it and we're ready to go again tomorrow."
The two teams race again on Sunday.
Team New Zealand are desperate to turn the tables on Swiss syndicate Alinghi, who thrashed them 5-0 to win the America's Cup in 2003.