Thursday, November 11, 2010

BMW ORACLE Racing ready to race at Louis Vuitton Trophy Dubai

America’s Cup champion BMW ORACLE Racing team has been in preparation this week for the Louis Vuitton Trophy Dubai, the final event of the Louis Vuitton World Series.

With racing for the six teams scheduled to start on Sunday, BMW ORACLE Racing has been practicing on the waters off the Dubai International Marine Club aboard a pair of V5 America’s Cup Class sloops.

Two of the yachts, USA 87 and USA 98, have been lent for use in the event by BMW ORACLE Racing. Another two sloops are on loan from Emirates Team New Zealand. The four yachts have been equalized to make them as similar as possible in performance for the match racing regatta.

BMW ORACLE Racing last raced the yachts at the 1851 Cup in Cowes, England, in August.

“This is the same crew that we sailed the 1851 Cup with, and it feels good,” said tactician John Kostecki of the U.S. “When we've been out training here, it feels like we've been together for a while now.”

BMW ORACLE Racing sails upwind at the 1851 Cup

BMW ORACLE Racing won the 33rd America’s Cup last February, culminating a ten-year quest by team owner Larry Ellison. It was also the fourth Cup win for team CEO Russell Coutts, who previously skippered three winners (1995, 2000, 2003).

With the victory, skipper James Spithill of Australia became, at 30 years of age, the youngest skipper to ever win the America’s Cup. Spithill’s remarkable 2010 also saw him named the Australian Male Sailor of the Year for 2009/10 and winner of the RC44 class World Championship.

The Louis Vuitton Trophy Dubai stands to be the team’s final regatta in ACC sloops. The 34th America’s Cup will be raced in wingsailed catamarans.

USA 87 and USA 98 were the culmination of the design team’s seven years of experience researching and refining the ACC sloop. Design team coordinator Ian “Fresh” Burns is fond of the yachts that measure approximately 80 feet length overall.

“USA 98, especially, was a boat that although not revolutionary, resulted from a combination of a huge effort combined with a great depth of experience from a legendary collection of designers.”

Racing for the Louis Vuitton Trophy begins Sunday, Nov. 14, and runs through Saturday, Nov. 27. The team’s draw in the round robin will be determined Saturday evening, Nov. 13, at the Opening Ceremony.

The full 17-man crew includes:
Dirk de Ridder (Netherlands) Mainsail Trimmer
Shannon Falcone (Antigua) Mast
Ross Halcrow (New Zealand) Upwind Trimmer
Murray Jones (New Zealand) Mainsail Traveler/Strategist
John Kostecki (USA) Tactician
Jono MacBeth (New Zealand) Starboard Grinder
Brian MacInnes (Canada) Port Grinder
Matt Mason (New Zealand) Pit
Ian Moore (Great Britain) Navigator
Joey Newton (Australia) Downwind Trimmer
Gillo Nobili (Italy) Aft Grinder
Dean Phipps (New Zealand) Runners/Pit Assist
James Spithill (Australia) Skipper/Helmsman
Joe Spooner (New Zealand) Mainsail Grinder
Simeon Tienpont (Netherlands) Aft Grinder
Piet van Nieuwenhuyzen (Netherlands) Bow
Brad Webb (New Zealand) Mid-bow