Sunday, February 14, 2010

America's Cup Race Two – BMW Oracle wins the CUP!!

AC 2010 Race Two – BMW Oracle wins the CUP!!
The wind finally settled (it needs to be within a directional range of 30 degrees for a Cup race) at around 4pm today in Valencia. Alinghi 5 with owner Ernesto Bertarelli at the helm won the right to enter on starboard but were inside the starting area before time and were penalized before the race even started.

BMW Oracle, with both Larry Ellison and Russell Coutts onboard, steered around Alinghi and headed out to the left side of the course. The Swiss catamaran, slow to get moving, sailed out the right, already 400m behind. After several minutes, it became clear that Alinghi’s performance had been transformed, sailing both higher and faster than in Race One. Within minutes, the Swiss boat had sailed into the lead as the breeze on the right gave a significant advantage. Bertarelli handed the helm to Loick Peyron, the French multihull veteran. At one point, Alinghi 5 was 600 metres ahead and it was noted they had raised a protest flag. As they neared the windward mark, Alinghi tacked over to the left, crossing BMW Oracle who had already tacked for the mark. When Alinghi tacked, her speed dropped dramatically and, as BMW Oracle was already moving fast, it looked as if the Swiss had misjudged the layline to the mark. Sure enough, BMW Oracle was able to squeeze up, rounding the mark 28 seconds ahead.

On the first reach, The US boat again showed her off-wind abilities, swiftly climbing to 30 knots in the 8-knot breeze. Alinghi stayed in touch but could not seem to match the speed of the American boat. By the final turn, BMW Oracle was nearly 2000 metres ahead. Alinghi tried everything to get back into the race, dropping water ballast and changing to a larger headsail. These moves improved her speed but not by enough to close the gap.

Two miles from the finish, BMW Oracle ran into some light airs and was forced to tack, allowing Alinghi to close the lead down to1000 metres. But minutes later the US trimaran crossed the finish line to win the America’s Cup. As Alinghi neared the finish, they sailed into a perfectly executed penalty turn, dropped their protest flag and crossed the line just over 5minutes behind. The prizrgiving is at 8pm, so I’m off!!

Mike O’Neill

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