Thursday, 5 August 2010

1851 Cup: Strong Winds Open 1851 Cup on Solent

BMW ORACLE Racing lead on the first downwind of race one. Image copyright Gilles Martin-Raget/BMW ORACLE Racing.

by Tim Jeffery

BMW ORACLE Racing dropped two heats today to TEAMORIGIN on the first day of The 1851 Cup, a one-off match racing regatta between the teams in BMW ORACLE Racing's two V5 America's Cup Class sloops.

In Race 1 BMW ORACLE Racing skipper Jimmy Spithill of Australia took the right side of the racecourse and won a tacking duel up the first leg to lead at the first windward mark after a leg of 1.2 nautical miles.

Pre-start circling. Image copyright Gilles Martin-Raget/BMW ORACLE Racing.

The two crews went through the leeward gate together, each taking opposite sides, and up the second windward leg TEAMORIGIN opened up a lead on the right hand side.

"In the first race we had an advantage off the start line, but probably shose the wrong leeward gate to round," said tactician John Kostecki. "Up the second beat they got a little shift to the right, but fault on us. We have to get it right next time."

TEAMORIGIN racing with Jaguar on the wind. Image copyright Gilles Martin-Raget/BMW ORACLE Racing.

In the second race TEAMORIGIN got an early lead when BMW ORACLE Racing jumped the start early and lost valuable time restarting.

The BMW ORACLE crew was tight on TEAMORIGIN's lee bow trying to force them over the start line realy, but instead the westerly flowing tide swept BMW ORACLE over the line early and handed the British a sizeable advantage.

TEAMORIGIN chase BMW ORACLE Racing hard downwind. Image copyright Gilles Martin-Raget/BMW ORACLE Racing.

The race was shortened at the leeward gate with the wind blowing 22 knots and gusting higher.

"We would've preferred another lap," said Murray Jones, the team's strategist. "We were a long way behind do in that situation you're hoping for a handling error or a breakdown on your opponent. But I enjoyed today."

The 1851 Cup