The RC 44 class made its debut in American waters in conditions that make Miami a renowned racing venue: a northwesterly breeze gusting over 20 knots and the boats planing around the racecourse north of Government Cut at speeds of 17 to 20 knots.
The ORACLE RC 44 Cup Miami commenced today with the 14-boat fleet split into two groups of seven for preliminary match racing. If time permits by mid-Thursday, semifinals and a final will be held for the top two from each group.
Wintertime racing off the southeast coast of Florida has long been a sailor’s playground. The sun is brilliant, the water is warm and the conditions usually challenge the best of crews.
Although the Northern Hemisphere winter is still officially two weeks away, chilly temperatures this morning had the sailors thinking it came early. The passing of a cold front helped stir up the strong northwesterlies, and the fleet completed eight flights of five matches for 40 races in total.
In Group Alpha, Cameron Appleton has Chris Bake’s Team Aqua tops in the group with a 5-1 record, followed by Harm Müller-Spreer and Markus Wieser in Team Sea Dubai. Sea Dubai actually posted a 6-0 record, but had penalty points applied by the umpires.
In Group Bravo, Terry Hutchinson guided Torbjorn Tornqvist’s Artemis to the top of the group with a 5-1 record. Vincenzo Onorato’s Mascalzone Latino enjoyed its best day since returning to the class and is second at 4-1 with one flight to complete the round. BMW ORACLE Racing, with Larry Ellison and Russell Coutts, is third at 4-2.
The conditions taxed many of the crews, who were sore from being thrown about the light-displacement yachts, but none other than Daniel Calero’s crew aboard Islas Canarias Puerto Calero. The Spanish crew from the Canary Islands was forced out of action with a broken mast before morning had turned to afternoon.
Islas Canarias had just completed a jibe in its Flight 1 race when the mast broke about five feet above the gooseneck, where the boom attaches to the mast, and the spar went over the port side.
“We had just completed our jibe when we heard a big crunch,” said Calero. “There wasn’t much we could do to save the mast.”
Crewman Carlos Hernandez jumped into the warm Atlantic Ocean to help the crew recover some of the sails and disassemble the rigging so the mast could be brought back aboard the yacht for the motor to the harbor.
Islas Canarias Puerto Calero returned to shore where the crew began stepping a spare mast that the RC 44 Class Association has available at each regatta for just such an incident.
“This is the good side of this class, there’s a mast ready to go and we’ll be ready to race tomorrow,” said Calero. “We were enjoying the great conditions today and can’t wait to get back out tomorrow.”
ORACLE RC44 Cup Miami Day 1 Quotes
Cameron Appleton, Team Aqua: “We came off the water with one loss and that was good on a day like today. It was very shifty. Wind started out with puffs up to 28 knots or more, we saw the first rig come down in the class, and everyone seemed to be handling the conditions in different ways. It was a good test for the crews. A really good crew was rewarded today by sailing the boats well. Today was tricky because of a little cross swell and change in pressure. It kept us all on our toes.
Francesco Bruni, Mascalzone Latino: “We’re very happy, obviously. We had four good starts. We’re making big progress from Valencia to here and are now starting to win some races. We’re learning the boat more and more. It’s normal to struggle in the beginning, but now we’re learning again. We had 20 knots, sunny and breezy. It was puffy, shifty, a very nice challenge. It was just a bit too cold, but everything else was brilliant.”
Pieter Heerema, No Way Back: “Today was exciting, a beautiful wind but tough. Lots of people had problems in boathandling. That makes the sailing exciting. We had an up and down day. We sailed well, no problems with the boathandling, but we didn’t always grab the opportunities we created for ourselves. At a certain point you just have to nail it.”
Terry Hutchinson, Artemis: “It was an incredibly difficult day. Our guys sailed very well. This was our first regatta since Dubai where we had any training prior to the first day of racing and it showed. Sailing north of Government Cut (the channel leading to Miami Harbor) was pretty good. The course gave options for both sides to work.”
Harm Mueller-Spreer, Team Sea Dubai: “We had six wins, good boatspeed and very good starts. We had a bit of bad luck in the second to last race because we hit the Russians (Synergy Russian Sailing Team). But our boathandling is good, the maneuvering is good and the feeling for the pre-start is good. I feel very comfortable. First off we had not so much wind and then it increased to 25 knots or more and slowly decreased all afternoon.”
Ian Williams, Ironbound: “The boat’s fantastic. The best thing is that you only have eight guys and lots to do. Everybody needs to pull their weight and be aware of what’s going on, doing right things at the right time. It makes it a great challenge as a team to do well.”
ORACLE RC44 Cup Miami Provisional Results
(Through 8 flights)
1. Team Aqua (UAE) Chris Bake/Cameron Appleton – 5-1, 5 points
2. Team Sea Dubai (UAE) Harm Müller-Spreer/Markus Wieser – 6-0, 4 points*
3. Synergy Russian Sailing Team (RUS) Maxim Logutenko/Evgeniy Neugodnikov – 2-3, 2 points
3. No Way Back (NED) Pieter Heerema/Ray Davies – 4-2, 2 points*
3. Katusha (RUS) Guennadi Timtchenko/Paul Cayard – 2-4, 2 points
6. Peninsula Petroleum (ESP) John Bassadone/Inaki Castaner – 1-4, 1 point
7. Islas Canarias Puerto Calero (ESP) Daniel Calero/Jose Maria Ponce – 0-6, 0 points
(* penalty points applied)
1. Artemis (SWE) Torbjorn Tornqvist/Terry Hutchinson – 5-1
2. Mascalzone Latino (ITA) Vincenzo Onorato/Francesco Bruni – 4-1
3. BMW ORACLE Racing (USA) Larry Ellison/Russell Coutts – 4-2
4. 17 (USA) William Douglass/Jimmy Spithill – 4-2
5. Ceeref (SLO) Igor Lah/Rod Davis – 2-4
6. Ironbound (USA) David Murphy/Ian Williams – 1-4
7. AEZ RC 44 Sailing Team (AUT) René Mangold/Christian Binder – 0-6
James Spithill, winner of the 33rd America’s Cup and defender of the 34th America’s Cup, topped the standings on the opening day of racing in the Louis Vuitton Trophy Dubai.
The young Australian skipper steered BMW Oracle Racing to a 2-0 record over the French/German boat All4One while the other four boats in the contest posted 1-1 records.
Racing was close and eventful on the short windward-leeward courses tucked into gulf waters between Dubai Creek and the palm-tree shaped man-made islands of The Palm Jumeirah.
There were two collisions, one serious, when Dean Barker’s Emirates Team New Zealand speared its spinnaker pole through the side of Mascalzone Latino Audi steered by Gavin Brady. No one was hurt but Brady was penalized twice in the incident and race officials asked Brady to withdraw to avoid further damage to the Kiwi boat.
Cameron Dunn from Mascalzone said his team was head to wind when the New Zealand boat tried to turn inside them and their spinnaker pole sliced into the brittle carbonfiber topsides of the Italian boat.
“It went straight through the carbonfiber,” Dunn said. “It’s not a very thick skin at that point. It’s not designed to take impacts on the side. We’re lucky it wasn’t much worse. It could have been considerably worse. I’m surprised the bow didn’t hit. Luckily it was just the spinnaker pole. No one was hurt. It was pretty exciting for the 18th man in the back, and the television cameraman.”
Ray Davies, tactician on ETNZ said: “It was pretty dramatic. Obviously not what anyone wants. A lot of damage, a broken spinnaker pole and a big hole in a boat. It’s not a good way to start but the guys are working on repairs and it should be OK for tomorrow.”
Following a jury hearing into the collision, Mascalzone Latino Audi was docked one point while ETNZ lost half a point. Before racing started, race officials had warned sailors about actions that might render boats incapable of racing.
In the other incident, young French helmsman Sebastien Col flicked the bow of his French/German boat All4One into the safety wands on the stern of BMW Oracle Racing. The contact earned him a penalty flag and he lost the race.
Dubai skies were clear, hot and sunny skies as racing got under way after a short delay. The sea breeze came in at 6-8 knots and built to 14 to 15 knots as the afternoon wore on. Boats raced twice around a windward-leeward course with a mid course start finish line that also served as a gate for all legs.
Flight One, Race One, Mascalzone Latino Audi def Emirates Team New Zealand, 00:27 – At the start ETNZ split away on port tack while Mascalzone bore off on starboard with an early lead. Gavin Brady, skippering the Italian boat seized the early advantage and controlled the race, leading at every mark and fending off the New Zealanders as they threatened to overtake at the leeward mark.
Flight One, Race Two, Artemis Racing def Synergy Russian Sailing Team, 00:30 – It was all over before the start gun as Cameron Appleton on Artemis threatened to push Synergy above the committee boat as they approached on starboard tack. Francesco Bruni elected to squeeze into the narrowing gap between his opponent and the committee to. Seconds later the umpires signaled a red flag penalty requiring an immediate penalty turn. The Swedish boat led comfortably and finished 122 metres ahead.
Flight Two, Race One, Emirates Team New Zealand def Mascalzone Latino Audi, ret – This race ended with a bang. Dean Barker carried Gavin Brady far above the wrong side of the weather mark before the boats collided after rounding. The Kiwi spinnaker pole speared through the side of the Italian boat leaving Brady with two penalties for the mark rounding scuffle. Minutes later Mascalzone Latino was asked to withdraw to avoid further damage. Barker sailed on to take the point.
Flight Two Race Two, Synergy Russian Sailing Team def Artemis Racing, 00:31 – Both boats wanted the right at the start but it was Artemis who controlled and split off on port to claim the right hand advantage. Half-way up the first leg, the Russian boat clawed back to take a narrow 11 second lead at the top mark before extending and protecting their lead for the rest of the race.
Flight Three, Race One, BMW Oracle Racing def All4One, 00:17 – James Spithill landed a penalty on the French/German boat and led it off the line with a 60-metre advantage after a spirited pre-start exchange. All4One helmsman Sebastien Col had attempted to duck below his opponent and hook him as they approached the line but as his bow pinged the safety wands on the American boat’s stern, the umpires’ flag went up. Col kept it close but the race belonged to Spithill.
Flight Four, Race One, BMW Oracle Racing def All4One, 00:24 – The Americans wanted the right and controlled the start but Sebastien Col started perfectly to leeward and the margin was seldom more than a metre either way as they sailed for three and a half minutes out to the layline. BMW Oracle rounded eight seconds ahead, gradually extended on the following legs and finished 85 metres ahead.
1. BMW ORACLE Racing, 2-0, 2 pts
=2. Artemis Racing, 1-1, 1 pt
=2. Synergy Russian Sailing Team, 1-1, 1 pt
4. Emirates Team New Zealand, 1-1, 0.5 pts *
5. Mascalzone Latino Audi Team, 1-1, 0 pts *
6. All4One, 0-2, 0 pts
* Scoring penalty deducted by Umpires
The Louis Vuitton Trophy Dubai is under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Ahmed Bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman and Chief Executive of Emirates Airline and Group, the principal sponsor of the event.
The RC 44 Class announces the arrival of two new teams, the construction of two new boats, a new event in the United States and the renewal of its partnership with SLAM for the next two years.
July 9, 2010 – The RC 44 Class is pleased to announce the arrival of two new top level teams, who will join the Championship Tour before the end of the year.
Synergy, the Russian team for the America’s Cup led by Karol Jablonski – a veteran of the RC 44 Class – plans to join the Tour during the first official Class World Championship: the RC 44 Puerto Calero Islas Canarias Cup (October 11-16). Also confirmed, an American team will join the Tour during the Oracle RC 44 Cup Miami on December 7-12 at the latest.
Both teams have already confirmed that they will compete in 2011. Their new boats are currently being built at Pauger boatyard, in Hungary. They will be the RC 44’s no 23 and 24. Pauger is the only licensed RC 44 builder and it has built all the RC 44’s involved in the Championship Tour.
The RC 44 Class recently announced its project to expand to North America. The first regatta on US territory, the Oracle RC 44 Cup Miami, will take place on December 7 – 12 in South Beach Marina; it will be the closing event of the Tour 2010. “I really look forward to competing in Miami?, says RC 44 founder and co-designer Russell Coutts. “First of all because it is a beautiful sailing venue, but also because it is a symbolic step for the RC 44 Class as it will be the first time we race on American territory. Our goal is to develop a parallel circuit in the USA, and to see the European and American fleets meeting during several events, including the yearly World Championship.?
Following the Oracle RC 44 Cup Miami, the first regatta of the Championship Tour 2011 will also take place in the United Sates (west coast) whilst other regattas will be organised on American waters in the coming years.
The RC 44 Class is also pleased to announce that its historical partnership with SLAM has been extended until 2012. SLAM is the RC 44 Class’ official clothing supplier; it provides the Class management, umpires, race officials and guests with technical clothes that are particularly well adapted to their work.
Just one point separates the top five boats at the Louis Vuitton Trophy La Maddalena after an eventful program of five races sailed today in fresh breezes.
Russia’s SYNERGY Racing Team and the Swedish team Artemis share the top of the point’s table, each with five points. Emirates Team New Zealand, Britain’s TEAMORIGIN and the French/German team All4One are all equal third on four points.
With two days’ competition remaining in the round robin, the pressure began to tell in strong winds this afternoon as Sweden’s Artemis broke a gennaker pole and shredded a gennaker, and a jib began to self-destruct on Emirates Team New Zealand. Both top teams lost their respective races.
The Artemis breakdown was self-inflicted. The Swedish boat skippered by Paul Cayard was pushing to overtake the Russian boat when the pole went overboard, triggering a sequence that saw it trip and explode into pieces before dragging the sail under the boat. Artemis retired. On the Team New Zealand boat, racing All4One, the hapless Kiwis could only watch as the head of their jib began to split in 20 knot winds.
The Kiwis had more success off the water, at least temporarily when the Race Committee gave them a reprieve by ordering a resail of their race yesterday against BMW Oracle Racing. In another twist, the Jury tonight will hear an appeal by Oracle against the resail decision.
The dispute hinges on a safety order issued yesterday telling teams to maintain tension on forestays during spinnaker runs. After an umpires’ protest and a jury decision denied Team New Zealand any chance of a win in their match against Oracle, the organizers relented today, withdrew the safety order and ordered the resail.
Flight Seventeen, Race Two: TEAMORIGIN def. Luna Rossa, 00:37 – They started at speed on starboard with Britain’s TEAMORIGIN bow-out in the leeward berth. Ed Baird steering Luna Rossa was forced away early on port as Ben Ainslie on ORIGIN sailed into more pressure and continued to pull ahead.
Flight Six, Race Two: Azzurra def. SYNERGY Russian Sailing Team, 00:15 – Italy’s Francesco Bruni pulled off a breathtakingly close port cross on the first leg to defeat SYNERGY Russian Sailing Team. On the second beat there were 17 punishing tacks up the 1.2-mile leg but Synergy skipper Karol Jablonski, on the right, could never gain enough ground to get past Bruni.
Flight Twentythree, Race One: Artemis def. Azzurra, 00:15 – Saddled with a penalty in the pre-start Francesco Bruni and his Italian Azzurra team stayed on the attack and took the fight to the Swedish team Artemis around all four legs as the lead changed multiple times. However the Italians were trailing Terry Hutchinson and Artemis by 100 metres at the finish and they were still carrying the penalty.
Flight Eighteen, Race One: SYNERGY Russian Sailing Team def. Artemis, retired – A spinnaker pole overboard at the end of the second run dragged Artemis to oblivion, breaking the pole and shredding the Swedish boat’s spinnaker.
Flight Twenty, Race Two: All4One def. Emirates Team New Zealand, 00:21 – The French/German boat started ahead in the middle of the line on starboard, just ahead of the Kiwis on their weather hip. All4One helmsman Sébastien Col gradually inched ahead and his lead increased as the jib on ETNZ began to self-destruct.
Provisional win-loss leaderboard after Saturday racing:
=1. Synergy Russian Sailing Team, 5-4, 5 points
=1. Artemis, 5-2, 5 points
=3. Emirates Team New Zealand, 4-2, 4 points
=3. TEAMORIGIN, 4-3, 4 points
=3. All4One, 4-3, 4 points
=6. Azzurra, 3-4, 3 points
=6. Mascalzone Latino Audi Team, 4-1, 3 points *
=8. Luna Rossa, 2-6, 2 points
=9. BMW Oracle Racing Team, 1-5, 1 point
=10. ALEPH Sailing Team, 2-4, -2 points *
The Louis Vuitton Trophy is coming to Sardinia in May, with 10 elite sailing teams set to race for two weeks on the sparkling waters of the Mediterranean Sea off La Maddalena.
© Paul Todd/outsideimages.co.nz | Louis Vuitton Trophy
With just one month to go before racing begins on May 22nd, the host team, Mascalzone Latino Audi Team, is eager to extend a warm welcome to teams, sponsors and guests alike.
“La Maddalena is among the best places in the world to sail,” said Vincenzo Onorato, the team principal of Mascalzone Latino Audi Team. “The waters are warm, the wind conditions are very good and the people of La Maddalena will be gracious hosts. I want to welcome all of my sailing friends and fans of the sport to join us here in May.”
The Louis Vuitton Trophy – La Maddalena follows two successful regattas in Auckland (February 2010) and Nice (November 2009) over the past six months. Further events are planned in Dubai in November and Hong Kong in January of 2011.
For La Maddalena, two additional teams will join the eight who competed in Auckland, and both are world-class sailing squads. BMW ORACLE Racing, who won the America’s Cup Match in February, rejoins the Louis Vuitton Trophy after it missed the Auckland regatta due to its Cup commitments.
Luna Rossa, which has competed for the America’s Cup three times, winning the Louis Vuitton Cup in 2000, will race for the Louis Vuitton Trophy for the very first time, after sailing in a precursor event, the Louis Vuitton Pacific Series in 2009. Luna Rossa has assembled an impressive crew, including skipper Ed Baird, winner of the 32nd America’s Cup with Alinghi and tactician Torben Grael, who skippered Ericsson to a win in the last Volvo Ocean Race.
The addition of Luna Rossa will make for three Italian teams in La Maddalena, including Azzurra, the winning team in the Nice event. Also on the start list is the champion from Auckland, Emirates Team New Zealand. The full line-up for La Maddalena is 10 teams, representing eight countries:
Aleph, FRA, skipper Bertrand Pacé
All4One, FRA/GER, skipper Jochen Schümann
Artemis, SWE, skipper Paul Cayard
Azzurra, ITA, skipper Francesco Bruni
BMW ORACLE Racing, USA, skipper James Spithill
Emirates Team New Zealand, NZL, skipper Dean Barker
Luna Rossa, ITA, skipper Ed Baird
Mascalzone Latino Audi Team, ITA, skipper Gavin Brady
Synergy, RUS, skipper Karol Jablonski
TEAMORIGIN, GBR, skipper Ben Ainslie
In the Louis Vuitton Trophy regattas, the teams match-race equalised America’s Cup Class boats. For La Maddalena, the boats will be supplied by BMW ORACLE Racing (USA 87 and USA 98) and Mascalzone Latino Audi Team (ITA 90 and ITA 99).
La Maddalena is small town (population near 12 000) on an island with the same name that sits just one nautical mile off the Northeast coast of Sardinia. It is renowned for its beaches and its pink, rocky terrain and like Sardinia itself, offers up some of the most stunning backdrops for sailing in the Mediterranean.
The race village itself is set up about one kilometre to the east of the centre of town, near the southeast corner of the island. The heart of the race village will feature a big screen broadcasting all of the action from the race course. Crews will be in the race village interacting with the crowds during photo sessions, autograph signings and public press conferences. Food and beverage as well as team merchandise is also available, and the Louis Vuitton Junior Trophy will be contested by local junior sailors.
The easiest way to get to La Maddalena is to fly into Olbia’s Costa Smeralda airport (many flights transfer through Rome) and then transfer by road to Palau, approximately 40 kilometres to the north of Olbia. From Palau, there is a short ferry to La Maddalena. Alternatively, there are ferries into Palau from Corsica as well as Genoa and Napoli.
Racing is scheduled from the 22nd May through the 6th June. But teams will start official training sessions on the 18th May.
BMW Ocacle has fufilled a dream James Spithill, Larry Ellison, Russell Coutts , The BMW Oracle Racing Team and America as they win back the America’s Cup. For the first time in a Deed Of Gift race the challenger wins.. The one hundred and fifty nine year old cup has found her way back to America.
BMW Oracle wins by 5 minutes and 26 seconds.
Alinghi cross the finish line 5 minutes and 26 seconds after USA. The Swiss team were 24 seconds behind off the start line, 28 seconds behind at WW 1 mark, 2mins 44 secs behind at the gybe mark, Mark 2.
BMW ORACLE Racing, the American challenger, representing the Golden Gate Yacht Club, won the 33rd America’s Cup Match on Sunday in Valencia, sweeping past the Swiss defender, Alinghi, to a 2-0 victory.
This was an historic race for the oldest trophy in international sport, featuring two of the most innovative boats on the planet. BMW ORACLE Racing’s trimaran, USA, powered by the largest wing sail ever built, proved to be the faster of the two multihulls, overpowering Alinghi’s catamaran in both races.
Today marks the culmination of the San Francisco team’s 10-year quest for the America’s Cup, sailing’s pinnacle event. Founded by Larry Ellison (USA), the team is led by CEO Russell Coutts (NZL), now a four time Cup winner, and James Spithill (AUS), the skipper and helmsman of USA.
“It’s an amazing feeling,” said Spithill. “The amount of work the whole team has put into this boat and now to go two races without any issues – you just have to hand it to the shore guys, the boatbuilders and all of the support team and designers.
They gave us an awesome tool.”“It’s absolutely an awesome feeling,” added Larry Ellison. “I’m really proud to be part of this team. I couldn’t be more proud.”
After a long postponement on Sunday afternoon, racing started at 16:25 in 7-8 knots of wind.
There was an unusual start to the race, with Alinghi entering the start box very late. In fact, they were on the wrong side of the start box at the 5-minute gun, forcing the Umpires to assess a penalty. BMW ORACLE Racing started with more speed, but Alinghi held held the right hand side of the race course and prospered early when the wind shifted to the right. At one point, the advantage line was as big as 600-meters to the Swiss. But before the top mark, the BMW ORACLE Racing crew made a perfect layline call. After tacking on the line to the mark, BMW ORACLE Racing saw Alinghi cross ahead, but cede the inside position at the mark to USA, and that was all the advantage the challenger would need to lead around the mark by 28 seconds. From then onwards, the powerful USA boat extended its lead, to cross the finishing line ahead by 5.26.
“It was an awesome race. It was touch and go,” Spithill said. “We didn’t see that shift going as far right as it did and that made it pretty exciting early on.”
At one point, Alinghi was flying a red protest flag, but the team quickly confirmed after finishing there would be no protest.
With the win, BMW ORACLE Racing becomes the first U.S. challenger to win the Match since Dennis Conner hoisted the Cup with his Stars & Stripes team in Fremantle, Australia in 1987. Today also marks the first win for an American team since 1992 when Bill Koch’s America3 successfully defended the Cup in San Diego.
BMW ORACLE Racing crew list for Race Two of the 33rd America’s Cup:
Brad Webb (NZL) – Bowman – 1st America’s Cup win
Simone de Mari (ITA) – Pitman – 1st America’s Cup win
Ross Halcrow (NZL) – Jib Trimmer – 2nd America’s Cup win (1995, 2010)
Dirk de Ridder (NED) – Wing Sail Trimmer – 1st America’s Cup win
Joey Newton (AUS) – Wing Sail Caddy – 1st America’s Cup win
John Kostecki (USA) – Tactician – 1st America’s Cup win
James Spithill (AUS) – Skipper/Helmsman – 1st America’s Cup win
Matteo Plazzi (ITA) – Navigator – 1st America’s Cup win
Thierry Fouchier (FRA) – Aft Pit – 1st America’s Cup win
Matthew Mason (NZL) – Mast – 3rd America’s Cup win (1995, 2000, 2010)
Larry Ellison (USA) – Afterguard – 1st America’s Cup win
Alinghi 5 Racing crew list for Race Two of the 33rd America’s Cup:
Bow 1: Piet van Nieuwenhuijzen (NED)
Bow 2: Curtis Blewett (CAN)
Bow 3: Jan Dekker (RSA/FRA)
Pitman: Rodney Ardern (NZL)
Trimmer upwind: Simon Daubney (NZL)
Trimmer downwind: Nils Frei (SUI)
Mainsail trimmer: Warwick Fleury (NZL)
Traveller: Pierre-Yves Jorand (SUI)
Helmsman: Ernesto Bertarelli (SUI)
Tactician: Brad Butterworth (NZL)
Strategist: Murray Jones (NZL)
Navigator: Juan Vila (ESP)
Floater: Loïck Peyron (FRA)
Pre-start: Peter Evans (NZL
Brief History of the America’s Cup
The America’s Cup is the world’s oldest continually contested trophy in any sport. In 1851 the New York Yacht Club sailboat America beat 15 British boats from the Royal Yacht Squadron, thus beginning the America’s Cup race history. The British challenged in 1870, but the Cup remained at the victorious New York Yacht Club. For roughly the next hundred years, every challenger was beaten in Cup races held every three to five years, first in New York, then in Newport.
In 1983 the Americans lost to the Australian team, and the Cup left the United States for the first time. In 1987 the American team under Dennis Connor brought the Cup back home, where it remained until New Zealand took it in 1995. In 2003 the Swiss team took it from New Zealand, kept it through the challenge in 2007, and is now being challenged by the American team BMW ORACLE.
Through almost 160 years of racing, the America’s Cup boats have undergone various design changes, and legal challenges have been waged over design elements as controlled by the original and amended Deed of Gift, the document that governs the race. Almost all races, however, have involved monohull sailboats of equivalent size and general design—with two highly notable exceptions. In 1988 the San Diego team of Dennis Connor defended with a catamaran, which easily beat New Zealand’s monohull, leading to a number of court battles and appeals concerning the legality of a catamaran, finally ending with the Americans keeping the Cup. The next five races involved more traditional matched monohulls, in the design often now called the “America’s Cup Class boats.” The 2010 race will again involve multihulls, a trimaran challenging a catamaran—the first race of its kind in the long history of the Cup. Despite the poor publicity the race received throughout 2009 because of repeated court battles, the race in February 2010 promises to be fast and dramatic and, Cup supporters hope, to restore the international prestige of this historic competition.
by Gareth Evans
Race day 1 started light, but the forecast promised winds would increase. Bryan Willis, the British representative on the America’s Cup International Jury, was confident that racing would go ahead. Matt Sheahan of Yachting World magazine, a renowned expert on Valencia weather, was forecasting 8 knots, with possibly 14 knots during squally showers. Unfortunately the weather failed to cooperate.
Racing was officially cancelled at 1350 Valencia time.
Within the America’s Cup village, the area in front of the large screen was packed with standing room only. The lucky few that arrived early had managed to find seats. The crowds were entertained with music & acrobats, and videos of the America’s Cup final from 2007 shown on the screen. Large groups of school children were brought along to enjoy the America’s Cup experience.
Following racing I was very kindly granted access to the BMW Oracle Racing base, hidden deep within the Port away from prying eyes. Shortly after arriving at the base, USA-17 emerged from the rain. A number of ribs went out to meet her, and brought her onto her mooring buoy. The wing is left standing during normal weather conditions, so she sits on a swinging mooring allowing her to move with the wind. The wing is breathtaking, and even more impressive in real life.
The BMW Oracle genoas weigh about 200kg each – that is why they use a lifting beam. The main sail – before the wing went up – was about 600kg.
The race crew were still on board, and assisted with the de-rigging of the boat. A RIB brought Larry Ellison and Russell Coutts ashore. Ellison immediately boarded another tender which took him to his private yacht, anchored in the distance just outside the port. He has a view of USA-17 at all times from his yacht. When asked how the days sailing was, Russell Coutts replied “Good for us”, implying the suspected dominance of Alinghi in lighter airs.
Whilst at the BMW Oracle base I was afforded a close look at the Racers Edge wind measurement binoculars. They were sitting on a sofa in a large protective case, with Racers Edge emblazoned on the lid. They work in two modes. The first measures wind at 400m, 700m and 1000m distances from your location. The second mode measures wind speed vertically through a 40 degree arc at a distance of 400m from the boat. They communicate with the yacht’s on board computer system via Bluetooth, allowing a 3-dimensional image of wind speed to be calculated. At $150,000 a pair I did not ask if I could hold them!