Sunday, 3 August 2008

iShares Cup, Cowes: Bullets for Cammas and BMW Oracle Racing in the first two races

Extreme 40 fleet racing at Cowes. Image copyright OnEdition/OC Events.

by SailRaceWin and iShares Cup/OC Event media

Experienced multihull sailor, Franck Cammas, and his BMW Oracle Racing crew took wins in the first two races of the Cowes iShares Cup, Saturday, 2nd August.

Holmatro, with a 3rd and 4th, and Alinghi, with a 2nd and 6th, the last two Extreme 40 crews to arrive at the Solent prior to the event, are lying second and third, after two races. Britain's America's Cup sailors, on TeamOrigin, are 4th, with Oman Sail fifth.

BMW Oracle Racing and Alinghi, Day 1 at Cowes. Image copyright OnEdition/OC Events.

The other BMW Oracle Racing Extreme 40, helmed by James Spithill, finished 2nd in the second race, after a disastrous 10th in race one. They now lie 6th overall, after two races.

Extreme 40 fleet racing on day 1 at Cowes. Image copyright OnEdition/OC Events.

"Franck and I have already been doing a lot of sailing, in the trimaran and in the 40s", said Spithill. "So we’re just going to try and get into it as quick as we can, and we’re hopefully come away with a good result. Either way we’re going to learn a lot."

At just 35 years old, Franck Cammas is one of the most experienced skippers of the giant trimaran circuit and four-times ORMA World Champion on the 60ft 'Groupama'. He now skippers the new 105ft trimaran 'Groupama 3' and has joined BMW Oracle Racing as multihull consultant.

Cammas is sailing with tactician Thierry Fouchier, who raced in the iShares Cup at Hyères onboard TWINS and has been sailing on the maxi multihull 'Groupama 2' for two unbeaten seasons, and Dutch sailor Simeon Tienpont, who sailed the first two 2008 iShares Cup regattas onboard Volvo Ocean Race. Their fourth member of crew is trimmer/grinder Joe Newton, who has taken part in three America's Cup campaigns and won the world match racing championships with Spithill.

"I think probably the strength of the team is multi-tasking, just because we have to race so many different classes. With multihulls we’re going as hard as we can to understand them, but this is something that — on my team — we haven’t really specialised in. So this is just another opportunity to get better in the multihulls," added James.

Sydney-born James Spithill became the youngest ever America’s Cup helmsman when he steered Young Australia in 2000. An expert in boat-on-boat match racing, he won the World Youth Match Racing Championships, before going on to finish second in the Swedish Match Tour, and then taking the World Match Racing Championship title in 2006. He has also collected the prestigious Nations' Cup three times, and won a Melges 24 World Championship. In 2007 he again helmed the America's Cup, for Luna Rossa Challenge, and is one of the drivers for BMW Oracle Racing.

For the iShares Cup Spithill’s tactician is John Kostecki, who is now on his fifth America’s Cup campaign. He has completed two round the world ocean races, winning the Volvo Ocean Race in 2001-02 as skipper of illbruck. He also collected an Olympic silver medal in the Soling class at the 1988 Games, and is a 10-time world champion in a range of one-design classes — most recently competing in the cutting edge TP52 class. They are joined by two trimmers: Dirk de Ridder, another former winner of the Volvo Ocean Race and successful TP52 sailor, having won the 2006 MedCup; and Kiwi Alan Smith, a seasoned America's Cup sailor who is now on his eighth campaign for the 'Auld Mug'.

"It’s going to be a lot of fun just to be together as a group, all living together and racing a lot of top guys that are out there."

So, who does Spithill think are the main opposition? "It seems to be wide open. A lot of teams are right there and can win, as we’ve seen. Obviously I think Rob Greenhalgh from TEAMORGIN, and Ed [Baird] on Alinghi, are probably favourites given that Rob dominated last year, and Ed and his guys have probably spent the most time sailing the boats out of anyone. So I think they’ll be the ones that are really on the pace. We haven’t spent as much time [on the Extreme 40s] as either of those two guys, so we’re just going to go out there and we [came here] a few days before to do some training.

"Our main objective is just to do well in the week. Like all the events we’ve competed in, whether it be the TP52 or RC44s, it’s just to go there and be successful so this is no different. Obviously Alinghi are there and, yeah, we’d love to beat them!"

iShares Cup

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