Tuesday, December 7, 2010

ORACLE RC 44 Cup Miami opens with testing conditions

Larry Ellison and Russell Coutts have their RC 44 BMW ORACLE Racing placed third in Group B after the first day of the ORACLE RC 44 Cup Miami.

Sailing in northwesterly winds blowing over 20 knots that faded later in the afternoon, Ellison and Coutts have a 4-2 record as they attempt to seal the 2010 RC 44 Season Championship. The crew began the event with a 2-point lead in the season standings.

“You always hope for more, but overall our record is a fair reflection of how we sailed,” said bowman Ryan Godfrey. “I thought we sailed well, even though we had a bad spinnaker takedown at the leeward mark in one race.”

Godfrey referred to the race against Artemis Racing where BMW ORACLE sailed over the spinnaker during the takedown. That mishap tipped the race to Artemis.

BMW ORACLE Racing also had a close match against Mascalzone Latino Audi Team, which BMW ORACLE Racing lost due to a penalty for grazing a windward mark. Ellison led his yacht across the finish line 1 second ahead of the Italian yacht, but the penalty gave Mascalzone the win.

BMW ORACLE Racing is in Group Bravo in the preliminary match racing portion of the ORACLE RC 44 Cup Miami, the same grouping as RC 44 World Champion James Spithill and the yacht 17.

Spithill and his crew aboard 17 also posted a 4-2 record today and are tied for third with BMW ORACLE Racing, behind group leader Artemis Racing and second-placed Mascalzone Latino. 17, however, lost the head-to-head match with BMW ORACLE Racing.

“Today was windy more than wavy,” said Bryce Ruthenberg, boat captain of 17. “It was pretty shifty in the end and that made it difficult for the guys. The boat made it through the day unscathed.”

The round robin continues tomorrow with one flight scheduled before the top two teams from each group advance to the semifinals of the match racing event.