Friday, August 6, 2010

The 1851 Cup still up for grabs

The final day of The 1851 Cup has dawned with light winds across the Solent and high cloud cover. The sun is peaking through in some areas, but conditions are expected to deteriorate as the day progresses.

Today is also the traditional final day of Cowes Week, and the Red Arrows aerobatic team is set to perform tonight at 1930, followed by a gala fireworks show at 2100. The mouth of the River Medina becomes jammed with spectator boats to take in the displays.

Due to these uncontrollable factors and with a minimum of three races to complete and maximum of four, racing has been pulled forward from the scheduled 1530 start time. Principal Race Officer Harold Bennett hopes to fire the first warning signal at 1000, with a start at 1010.

From left: Ian Moore, John Kostecki, Murray Jones and Jimmy Spithill

After five match races on Tuesday and Wednesday, TEAMORIGIN leads the series with BMW ORACLE Racing 4-1, but the regatta is still up for grabs.

The first three races today are worth 3 points each. The potential fourth race would be a make-up of the race lost on Tuesday when winds exceeded 22 knots and is worth 1 point, but could become the tiebreaker depending on how the first three races play out.

“The boys want to go racing,” said Bennett. “They’re here to race, so we’ll do all four if we can.”

BMW ORACLE Racing comes into the day on a high after winning yesterday’s race around the Isle of Wight that re-enacted the famous race of 1851 which gave rise to the America’s Cup.

The five-plus hour race was a slam bang affair. BMW ORACLE Racing blew out a spinnaker and both jockey poles, while TEAMORIGIN lost two spinnakers, a jib halyard and the spinnaker pole. The Brits also were penalized twice, once for a port-starboard infraction and once for luffing past head-to-wind.

In the end, BMW ORACLE Racing pulled out a 1m:55s victory.

"I think just because of the history behind it, it meant a lot to both teams," said our skipper, Jimmy Spithill. "There was no pulling any punches. Both teams wanted it pretty badly."

Today the hostilities resume with the regatta on the line.

BMW ORACLE Racing 0-0-0-0-1 -- 1
TEAMORIGIN 1-1-1-1-0 -- 4

USA 98 beats across Sandown Bay during the race around the Isle of Wight