Wednesday, August 4, 2010

BMW ORACLE Racing scores first point at 1851 Cup

Racing in late day sunshine and a puffy northerly wind, America’s Cup winner BMW ORACLE Racing got on the scoreboard today in The 1851 Cup versus TEAMORIGIN of the U.K.

In Race 5 TEAMORIGIN suffered a breakdown when the mainsail halyard lock failed with one minute remaining in the pre-start. TEAMORIGIN attempted a repair, but couldn’t start within the prescribed time period and the race was awarded to BMW ORACLE Racing.

“It’s too bad we couldn’t race some more,” said Dirk de Ridder, BMW ORACLE Racing mainsail trimmer. “We had 16 knots of wind. These boats are great in those conditions.”

Prior to the mishap TEAMORIGIN stretched its winning streak to four races.

The British crew won Race 3 by taking the left side of the racecourse off the start line. TEAMORIGIN won the first cross and controlled the match from there.

Race 4 proved to be the best match of the series that runs through Friday. BMW ORALCE Racing and TEAMORIGIN were locked in a tacking duel up the first leg, but the British crew held a slim lead at the first mark when it got a controlling position to windward on port tack.

BMW ORACLE Racing got the lead on the first downwind leg by duping TEAMORIGIN into a jibe. BMW ORACLE Racing led into the leeward gate, where the key moment in the race occurred.

BMW ORACLE Racing was ahead on the water, but TEAMORIGIN was overlapped approaching the right-hand mark (looking downwind). BMW ORACLE Racing had to give room for TEAMORIGIN to make a proper rounding, but that gave the British the right side of the racecourse for the second lap. The team regained the lead at the top of the leg, which it maintained to the finish for a 5-second win.

“It was a slight overlap, but they had it,” said Ian Moore, the BMW ORACLE Racing navigator who lives on the Isle of Wight. “Up the right side they had more breeze than tide.”

Racing in The 1851 Cup continues tomorrow with a reenactment of the race around the Isle of Wight that gave rise to the legend of the America’s Cup. The schooner America won a similar race in 1851 against a fleet of British yachts to win the trophy that now bears its name.