Saturday, February 06, 2010

Two days to the start.......

A ‘Battle of the Titans between the giant catamaran of Team Alinghi and the huge BMW Oracle trimaran is due to start at 10 am on Monday morning.

Rumours were circulating last night that the ‘grudge’ match between these two monsters will be decided by wind strength; the reason being that Alinghi was designed to perform best in winds up to 15 knots ( around 27km/h), whilst BMW Oracle is at her best in 10 to 25 knots (18 to 46 km/h). Mondays forecast of up to 12km winds would seem to favour Alinghi. But the nature of match racing is that many other factors come into play, such as who wins the start, who chooses the ‘right’ side of the course and which team performs best on the day. Nothing is certain until the leading boat crosses the line without incurring penalties.

One thing is certain: since each of these multihulls is capable of speeds up to 3 times that of the wind (technology has advanced that fast), we are certain to see some very exciting racing over the next few days.

In what will surely set the seal on the manner in which these races will be contested, Larry Ellison (owner of BMW Oracle) was asked if he will be going to the Owners Press Conference, due to take place at 4pm today (Saturday 6 February). He replied that Team Alinghi had requested that Russell Coutts, BMW Oracle’s CEO (and helmsman of Alinghi when they first won the America’s Cup in 2003) should not be there. “As a result of them asking Russell not to go, I am not going...” The ‘grudge’ match element was further underlined by Mr Ellison, who likened the contest to that: “....between two heavyweights who don’t much like each other”.

The opening ceremony will start at the America’s Cup port on Sunday morning and is rumoured to include some spectacular displays. More as the story unfolds....

Mike O’Neill

No comments: