Monday, December 6, 2010

BMW ORACLE Racing set to contest first RC 44 regatta in American waters

Members of the BMW ORACLE Racing team, winners of the 33rd America’s Cup, are set to tackle the ORACLE RC 44 Cup Miami this week on the Atlantic Ocean off Miami Beach.

The yacht BMW ORACLE Racing leads the RC 44 2010 Championship Tour heading into this week’s final event. The crew, led by team founder Larry Ellison and CEO Russell Coutts, holds a 2-point lead in the overall standings and also leads the match racing and fleet racing subdivisions.

BMW ORACLE Racing placed second overall at the RC 44 World Championship in October, and Ellison returns to the helm this week after having missed the previous two RC 44 regattas, a welcomed event among the crew.

“The only two events we’ve won this year were with Larry driving. He’s a good helmsman,” said mainsail trimmer Dirk de Ridder of The Netherlands.

Looking forward to the racing, de Ridder added: “Our setups are the same as the World Championship. If we remain consistent and avoid any major problems we’ll be fine.”

Skipper James Spithill guides the yacht 17 into action. Spithill and his crew are fresh off winning the RC 44 World Championship in October and are tied for third overall in the season standings, 4 points behind BMW ORACLE Racing.

“We made a couple of changes to some sails for this event,” said Spithill of Australia. “It’s looking like it could be a windy event so we’ve re-cut some sails. But we have to focus on our boathandling. The level here is so high if you make one mistake it stuffs you up.”

Spithill will be joined by class newcomer Doug Douglass for the fleet racing portion of the regatta, which requires helmsmen to be classified as amateurs by ISAF, the international governing body for sailing. Douglass is a veteran competitor of the Farr 40 and Melges 32 one-design classes.

The ORACLE RC 44 Cup Miami is the first event in U.S. waters for the class founded four years ago. The action among the 14 entrants begins tomorrow with the match racing portion of the regatta. The fleet racing begins on Thursday and runs through Sunday.

BMW ORACLE Racing crew list
Russell Coutts (tactician), Dirk de Ridder (mainsheet), Larry Ellison (helmsman), Ryan Godfrey (bow), Ross Halcrow (trimmer), Revelin Minihane (pit), Colin Orsini (grinder), Chris Schirmer (trimmer)

17 crew list
William “Doug” Douglass (fleet racing helmsman), Jonas Hviid Nielsen , Kyle Langford (grinder), Joe Newton (trimmer), Philippe Presti (mainsheet), Bryce Ruthenberg (trimmer), James Spithill (helmsman/tactician), Piet van Nieuwenhuyzen (bow), Matt Von Bibra (pit)