Monday, 8 February 2010

America's Cup: Ready for Action

by America's Cup media

The match for the 33rd America’s Cup is scheduled to get under way tomorrow (Monday).

The stage is set. The preparations are complete. The two protagonists, the 33rd America’s Cup Defender Alinghi (SUI) and the Challenger, BMW ORACLE Racing (USA), completed their final testing and tuning off Valencia this afternoon in relatively benign winds, in final preparation for the Race 1 of the best-of –three series.

The two giant multihulls, with their towering rigs, seemed to defy the laws of physics as they moved swiftly across the seas off Valencia in, at times, next-to-no breeze.

If ever there was a stark reminder of how great the jump in technology and potential boat speeds ushered by this 33rd edition for the world’s oldest sporting trophy, then it was evident this afternoon while tens of thousands visitors enjoyed the inauguration festivities ashore.

The clash of these giant multihulls promises to be one of the most memorable in the history of the America’s Cup.

The time signal for the first race, which will comprise one 20 mile beat to windward and a 20 mile run to the finish, is scheduled for 1000hrs (local time), six minutes before the start gun.

The wind forecasts are promising: light to moderate breezes which would be enough to get Race 1 under way

BMW ORACLE Racing gain starboard tack entry. America’s Cup Park full of life.
The America’s Cup Park was thronged full of life this afternoon, as tens of thousands of local Valencians and many visitors turned out for the inauguration festivities.

On the toss of a coin between the commodores of the Defender yacht club, Switzerland’s Société Nautique de Genève, and the Challenger, the USA’s Golden Gate Yacht Club BMW ORACLE Racing, the priority to enter the start area for Race 1 with right of way, on Starboard tack, went to BMW ORACLE Racing.

The Challenger American trimaran, USA, the first to be seen racing in the history of the America’s Cup, will be steered by James Spithill (AUS) and will be using a rigid wing sail of around 70 metres high.

The Swiss Defender’s catamaran, Alinghi 5, will be steered by team president Ernesto Bertarelli (SUI) and Loïck Peyron (FRA), as the team bid to win the America’s Cup for the third consecutive time.

This multihull match is all new territory for the America’s Cup. The craft can sail at two and a half to three times the wind speed. No one can predict exactly what will happen when the two giant protagonists square up in the start area. In conventional match racing the immediate goal is to inflict a penalty on the opposition.

Such penalty turns, if the opposition is sailing away at 20 knots, could be doubly expensive.

Security measures are in place to maximize the safety on the race course. The start line is expected to be somewhere around 800 metres long, depending on the wind strength.

Visitors to the inauguration festivities this afternoon enjoyed a display of local mascletá firecrackers.

Funds were raised for Haiti with proceeds from the sale of a huge Spanish paella for 5000 people, Swiss raclette and American hamburgers all combining to help.

Harold Bennett (NZL) Principal Race Officer:

His thoughts on the weather for Race 1 day:
“At the moment it looks like a very light offshore breeze early, which will fade away and begins to look like coming from the south. That was an earlier forecast and so we don’t have a straight answer on that just now.

Does he have clear ideas in his mind about what the wind limits might be?
“We will take the day as it comes and work it our from there.”

Is there any step change in technology they are using for race management since 32nd Americas’ Cup:
“I think probably there is no much of an advance in terms of technology in what we are using, we use the same methods as before.”

What does he think we will see at the start?
“At the start? I hope we see two boats get in, entered and get away from the start cleanly and have a race. That is what I am hoping to see. Whether they mix it up or not I don’t know.”

Alain Gautier (FRA), Alinghi, on the start:
“The priority boat will try to put a penalty on the other. And on these boats that can be very expensive.”
“It is less important to break the start line on the gun than to start well launched with speed and without a penalty.”

James Spithill, (AUS), BMW ORACLE Racing: “It is all new to us. The boats have completely different characteristics and obviously we only have the one boat each and so we have not really been able to go out there and try as hard as we usually do. I think it will be interesting. I think they have tried to set up the start line so there will be no ‘dial-up’. I think we will see the boats turn back quite early and really try to fight for the side. The first cross is so important in match racing, however I think this time you really want o be going the right way. To do any manoeuvre in a multihull is quite expensive. I am quite excited myself, because I just can’t wait to see what happens. "

33rd America's Cup

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