Sunday, February 14, 2010

First leg report - USA takes the lead!

BMW ORACLE Racing leads Alinghi around the top mark, with the Swiss defender carrying a penalty. It's a very close contest one third of the way through the race.

There was a long postponement before racing started on Sunday, with Principal Race Officer Harold Bennett just squeezing in the start before the 16:30 CET cut-off time.

Alinghi was in the wrong position when the 5-minute gun fired, and the Umpires were obliged to penalise the Swiss.

BMW ORACLE Racing took advantage of the mistake by sailing deep into the start box on port tack and crossing ahead of Alinghi. At the start, Alinghi made a late tack to take the right hand side of the course. As a result A5 was slow at the start and as USA hit the line with speed to the left, the early lead in the race was to BMW ORACLE Racing.

But a big right-hand shift turned the lead upside down nearly halfway up the beat. Approaching the first cross on starboard tack, Alinghi forced BMW ORACLE back to the left and maintained the right-hand advantage nearly all the way up the first leg.

Just before the top mark, the BMW ORACLE Racing crew made a perfect layline call. After tacking on the layline, BMW ORACLE Racing saw Alinghi cross ahead., but cede the inside position at the mark to USA, and that was all the advantage they would need to lead around the mark by 28 seconds.

This is shaping up to be a terrific race.

There was a late addition to the crew list on BMW ORACLE Racing with Larry Ellison (USA) joining the crew in the afterguard position.

Nearly three-quarters of the way up the first leg, Alinghi unfurled a red protest flag.