Wednesday, 10 February 2010

America's Cup: Race 1 - A Big Wednesday?

The rescheduled first clash of the 33rd America’s Cup between the giant multihulls of Alinghi and BMW ORACLE Racing which is now due for Wednesday off Valencia looks set to encounter brisk winds and challenging seas. The stage may be set for a full speed, high action duel

Image © Consorcio Valencia.

by America's Cup media

With winds of over 25 knots offshore today neither the Challenger BMW ORACLE Racing nor the Defender Alinghi chose to practice today, electing not to risk crew and their cutting edge craft on the eve of the first of the best-of-three race series.

As prescribed by the 1887 Deed of Gift which principally governs this regatta, the course remains the same, of 40 miles total distance comprising one upwind leg and one downwind leg. The deed also rules that there should be one day off in between racing days, hence the reason racing was not scheduled for today Tuesday.

Reports suggested that the two teams were configuring their craft for the stronger northerly airs which are being drawn down to Valencia by a low pressure system towards the east.

Cutting edge technology is immediately apparent on both Alinghi 5 and BMW ORACLE Racing's USA.

At a media briefing today BMW ORACLE Racing skipper-helmsman James Spithill (AUS) described the ‘sunglasses’ as developed by the defence industry which allow him a permanent view of the many different instrumentation displays. A verbal request to his navigator scrolls to the output he wishes, including the many load sensors, the rudder angle and target speeds and performance analysis.

Similarly, the crewman who controls the power of the 223 foot (68m) solid wing sail, relies on information fed from wind sensors on the sail output to a small PDA on his wrist.

For all that, Spithill warned that basic seamanship was still a primary concern, pressing home a reminder that he would not push the giant trimaran too close to the limit. And while the teams may have spent considerably on technology, both have also spent many hours racing and training on a range of smaller performance catamarans as well as offshore multihulls in order to better learn the limits and to fine tune the different sensibilities required for racing these high speed craft.

260,000 unique visitors to

The leap in technology and fascination with this historic match, as well as the accessibility of real time images and information has almost certainly seen a spike in interest for this 33rd edition. Over 260,000 people logged on around the world to watch Monday’s live coverage of Race Day 1, Monday on www.americascup .com with over 450,000 page views.

33rd America's Cup

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