Monday, November 15, 2010

BMW ORACLE Racing notches two wins in support of “Movember”

By scoring two wins against no losses today BMW ORACLE Racing holds the early lead at the Louis Vuitton Trophy Dubai.

BMW ORACLE Racing, led by its America’s Cup-winning skipper James Spithill of Australia, won its two races against All4One, a combined French/German team.

Spithill and crew were aided by All4One in the first race when it was penalized for grazing the keep-off wands on the transom of the American yacht.

The second race was close for the first lap, BMW ORALCE Racing led by 9 seconds at the first two mark roundings, but then opened its lead on the second upwind leg and won by 24 seconds.

“It’s good to come off the water with two wins, it was a good day,” said tactician John Kostecki of San Francisco, Calif.

“We had a nice breeze, about 12 to 15 knots from a northerly quadrant. In practice we’ve been working hard on certain things and it all came together today,” Kostecki continued. “We started well, had really good baothandling and seemed to go the right way most of the time. We had all the options because we won the starts.”

The races against All4One were classic for the tacking duels. On the first beat of Race 1 the teams combined for nearly 25 tacks on the short course whose first leg measured less than 1 nautical mile. The racecourse has been modified with the start line placed above the leeward mark and serving as a gate both upwind and down.

“You lose count of the tacks when you’re on the handles, but it was full-on,” said mastman Shannon Falcone of Antigua. On the upwind legs Falcone is second grinder on the mainsail with Joe Spooner of New Zealand. He could feel the burn.

“It’s the meat and potatoes of sailing,” Falcone said. “You know on these short courses that if you can tack someone out to the layline you can have the lead at the mark,” said the Antiguan. “The gate’s keeping racing close downwind as well, which is good for the spectators and us as competitors.”

Falcone has rallied some of his mates for a different cause. November is the global prostate cancer awareness month, and Falcone, Jono MacBeth (New Zealand), Gillo Nobili (Italy) and Simeon Tinepont (Netherlands), as well as some other team members, have grown a mustache in support of the fight against prostate cancer.

“It’s something that came up in a training session before coming here,” Falcone said. “I remember growing up a lot of professional sailors rockin’ the mo’ quite strongly. There are still a few guys who run it today, but I won’t mention any names.

“The fact that this event was over November and it’s the final class event, we just decided to do it,” Falcone said. “It’s a great way to help raise awareness.”

Racing resumes tomorrow with BMW ORACLE Racing scheduled to race Artemis Racing of Sweden, an official challenger for the 34th America’s Cup, in two heats. Racing isn’t scheduled to begin before 1100 local.

With Dubai in the background, BMW ORACLE Racing and All4One joust in pre-start maneuvers.

BMW ORACLE Racing and All4One on a run.

BMW ORACLE Racing rounds the leeward mark in the late-day sun.