America's Cup 2010
Race 1 Race Results
Race 1 Summary Report
Valencia, February 12, 2010
America's Cup 2010 Race 1 Summary:
"Gentleman Start Your Engines" is something we once never expected to hear at the start of a sailboat race, but here we are racing off Valencia!
The two came into the start box and provoked a gasp, coming right at each other. Alinghi tried to cross in front of BMW Oracle, but A5 could not get out of the way of the onrushing USA and copped a Port-Starboard penalty for not keeping clear. Both boats then going into the dial-up. Before the enormity of needing to do a penalty turn could be appreciated, it became apparent too the Americans had stalled out and were in irons above the start line when the gun went off. A5 came out low, rounded the pin, and left and hot on port, leaving the trimaran still making sternway before BMW got sorted, crossed below the line, and set off in pursuit.
All the experts expected we would know who had the faster boat in the first few minutes of a presumed drag race. It took half of a (20 mile) leg for the truth to come out. The trimaran quickly clawed back from 600m disadvantage, obviously sailing higher and faster. USA was better or equal to A5 going upwind, even when A5 changed from a G-Zero to an upwind jib, even when USA sailing bare-headed after the Americans dropped their jib and showed less drag and greater speed.
For an extended period it appeared the two might be evenly matched, legging along on port, USA sailing above, slightly higher, slightly faster. The tri was a cat for all the time the central third hull spent in the water during Race 1. A few times close inspection showed A5 dumping water ballast, probably as they tried different configurations to look for gains.
Eventually both boats centered up, crossing the course on starboard, and with the same result, USA always scratching out a few more meters on Virtual Eye graphics, extending her lead to the port layline. To surprise of many, there did not appear to be much difference in how quickly or easily the giant multis went through tacks, which can be a performance weakness for multi-hulls in general, and a maneuver where the soft sail was presumed to be at a disadvantage to the wing sail.
BMW Oracle Racing made the layline, rounded the top (and only) windward mark with ease, and bore off under the massive gennaker. Alinghi seemed to have cut their approach thin and struggled somewhat, pinching to make the mark, and coming into the mark was often slow with both hulls in the water. Rounding delta was 3 minute 21 seconds, advantage USA.
On the course commentary, switched to posing whether downwind would be where the Alinghi cat would find her feet. After a similar bear away maneuver, it appeared A5 had some troubles sorting out for the downhill run. Perhaps it was some mechanical difficulty, maybe just trying to do a lot all at once, to close course, but she couldn’t keep up.
USA seemed at ease while A5, shown from astern (with USA leading in distance) seemed to cut a series of S curves, sometime dropping onto both hulls, and then rising again before doing the same confounding swath -- not fast. At one point the cameras zoomed in to see the Swiss crew dumping ballast from the windward ama, trading off righting moment to shed overall weight.
The cat was charging from behind late, finally showing some legs, but never seemed able to make any gains on USA, which despite advanced hints by both teams of a “crossover” in performance is obviously a very stable platform in the conditions present for this first race. That A5 was expected to shine in the light may be confounding for the Defender. The trimaran was certainly at home, dominating after the botched start.
USA crossed the finish line while A5 was still over 3 kilometers back up the course. Having yet to discharge their penalty, the Swiss crossed and then turned up again. In doing their slow turn, to exonerate a penalty from pre-start, the massive A5 was never completely on the race course and had to come back a second time to stop the clock.
Final delta 15:28.
-- Report ©2010 CupInfo
"We sorta had a hard time to try and stay out of irons. We got stuck in irons. We had an issue with one of the winches, we couldn’t get the sail on ‘em, and obviously we couldn’t get the bow down. So it was a bit frustrating, you know, as we really had him on the back foot there."
Question: As you came across
the line, how did you feel when you started chasing Alinghi down?
From Dirk de Ridder, Wingsail Trimmer, BMW Oracle:
Larry Ellison, Owner, BMW Oracle:
Ernesto Bertarelli, Owner, Alinghi: "The wing seems to be quite a weapon."
Brad Butterworth, Alinghi Skipper: "What do you want me to say, they sailed from behind us to in front of us."
From James Spithill, Skipper, BMW Oracle Racing:
On the pre- start:
On the boat speed:
On the second half of the race:
On his feelings on the day:
On needing one more win:
SNG's Alinghi 5, left; USA (Golden Gate YC's Challenger) right; heading up up the windward Leg in Race 1.
Photo: ©2010 Gilles Martin-Raget/BMW Oracle Racing
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