Monday, November 15, 2010

BMW ORACLE Racing retains top spot at Louis Vuitton Trophy Dubai

BMW ORACLE Racing scored another two victories today at the Louis Vuitton Trophy Dubai and remains atop the leaderboard with four wins from four races.

The team, winner of the 33rd America’s Cup last February, defeated Sweden’s Artemis Racing by 27 and 37 seconds on Day 2, and has the only unblemished record among the six teams at the event.

Similar to yesterday, skipper James Spithill (Sydney, Australia) did a masterful job in the pre-start, controlling his opponent to win the favored end. On the racecourse, tactician John Kostecki (San Francisco, Calif.) made sound decisions on where to go and was supported by solid crew work.

“It was another great day for the team. It’s very pleasing to go 4-0,” said navigator Ian Moore of Cowes, England. “We’re sailing well and Jimmy’s starting well, which makes everyone’s life a bit easier. So far, so good.”

The crew is clicking so well in these early days of the two-week, match racing regatta that not even a blown gennaker could derail the Cup champs. Approaching the leeward gate in the first race, the gennaker blew out after a gybe to starboard.

“We got a little unlucky with the takedown line catching on the jockey pole in the last gybe to the mark and the gennaker ripped,” said grinder Simeon Tienpont of the Netherlands. “It can happen, but we solved it well. There might’ve been a little bit of panic onboard, but sometimes you need that.”

While Tienpont and the crew recovered from the blown sail, Moore was kept busy all day with his navigation computer. The short, tight racecourses – the first leg is measuring .8 nautical miles and the start-finish line serves as a mid-course gate – place a premium on accurate laylines, the optimum course to the next mark.

“From a navigator’s point of view there’s plenty going on,” said Moore. “With the mid-course gate there’s a whole new set of laylines to worry about upwind and downwind. You need a slightly different mindset because there’s a chance of a penalty situation at the gate, but it’s good. It’s a change, it’s different, it’s interesting.”

In between races a large windshift came through with heavy cloud cover that appeared to be bringing rain to the racecourse, but it was a different phenomenon.

“There was a huge buildup of cumulus cloud over land that looked like a rain cloud,” said Moore. “But here you don’t get rain, so it pushed out to the course in the form of sand. We got 18 knots and a big right shift. As soon as it started to fade it shifted back to the left. For an hour we had very, very shifty conditions, but I think John called it very well and we made the most of it.”

Racing is scheduled to resume tomorrow with no start planned before noon, and BMW ORACLE Racing is scheduled to race Synergy Russian Sailing Team.

BMW ORACLE Racing sails upwind with Dubai shrouded in sand.
Bowman Piet van Nieuwenhuyzen calls time to the line during a pre-start.

BMW ORACLE Racing and Artemis Racing work a run.
Artemis Racing was covered tightly all day by BMW ORACLE Racing.
The onboard observer signals no overlap.