33rd America's Cup
14. février 2010
After losing Race 1 on Friday, in the best of three race series, Defender Alinghi are in a must win situation as they approach the second contest, the 39 miles triangle course which is scheduled for Sunday.
Cool, blustery offshore breezes prevailed through Saturday around Valencia’s Marina Real Juan Carlos 1 but they are forecast to give way to a gentler SE’ly wind which might allow an early afternoon race, what may be the final showdown of the 33rd America’s Cup match.
The start to Race 2 has been postponed for two hours to around 2 o’clock: the wind is very unstable during the transition phase perhaps because there is a little more heating on land than Friday. Breeze now is 5 knots at the gybe mark from 300 degrees, but there is much more conflict closer to the shore where the race committee are seeing 180 degree shifts and very, very little wind. And at the windward mark there is about 4 knots at 355 degrees.
Alinghi, the Swiss team which won in 2003 in Auckland, NZ. and then retained the America’s Cup in these Valencian waters in July 2007, suffered a heavy defeat in Friday’s opening race, when the superior speed and power of the USA’s wing-sailed trimaran was evident in the specific weather conditions.
But, the change to the shorter 13-miles reaching legs of the triangle course, the prospect of lighter breeze and the chance to learn from the mistakes they reported that they made configuring and setting up their catamaran, Alinghi 5, might contribute to a reversal of fortune.
Addressing the media after Race 1, both Russell Coutts (NZL), the three times America’s Cup winning CEO of BMW ORACLE Racing Team and Ernesto Bertarelli (SUI) cautioned that this America’s Cup is far from over.
Both teams spent Saturday de-briefing information gained from Race 1 looking for improvements. Alinghi’s chief designer Rolf Vrolijk (NED) said Friday that they were hoping for different conditions in which they could ‘hopefully be competitive.”
BMW ORACLE Racing informally presented key members of their technical team to the media today including Design Director Mike Drummond (NZL). The Kiwi is on his eighth America’s Cup and was among the design team of 132 foot KZ1, which lost the 1988 Deed of Gift challenge against the USA’s 60 foot catamaran.
Drummond, who was one of the key drivers in the team’s decision to build the solid wing which has proven a ‘weapon’ admitted that even he was a little surprised at how much the BMW ORACLE Racing trimaran had gained on the downwind leg of Race 1. From Mark 1 to the finish, 20 miles downwind, BMW ORACLE Racing gained around five minutes.
If the USA team can win back the America’s Cup it will be for the first time since Dennis Conner’s Stars & Stripes team lost 5-0 to New Zealand’s famous KZ 7 in San Diego in 1995
Race 1 saw a huge number of visitors on www.americascup.com. 346,604 unique visitors or computers logged on to the website during Friday, 90,000 visitors more than Monday 8th.
In terms of countries the USA accounted for 123,225, Italy second highest with 92,811, Switzerland with 80,889, France 65,951.
Harold Bennett (NZL) Race Director and Principal Race Officer:
” It was good to get the race away (yesterday) and at long last see the two giant multis battle it out. It was great.
On the start entry set up
” Maybe it could have been modified a little different but it won’t be any different tomorrow because what we start with is what we’ll finish with. But not having had these boats before you don’t really know what the best formula would have been to do that. Now we have had one race we have actually had one pre-start with these boats, maybe it could have been a little different, but I am afraid it won’t be any different. So that’s that.”
On setting up the triangle course:
” The triangle course, being only 13 miles to windward, is a little easier. You don’t have to look for the 20 miles of beautiful breeze coming down.”
“But the indicators are at the moment that we are going to see an offshore breeze overnight. It is going to die in the morning and flatten out the seas and eventually come in off the SE, and if that is the case. It will be light 6-8 knots. If that is the case we will be quite close to home here. We might be off Sagunto (12 miles north of Valencia) and so there should be the opportunity to see these boats off the shore. I hope that if the weather comes that way then we will do it that as much as practical.”
Mike Drummond (NZL) design director BMW ORACLE Racing:
” I was a little surprised at our performance downwind, but not totally surprised. I have to say I was uncertain. I did not know how we would rank against them. I felt quite confident in stronger breezes and less confident in lighter breezes and honestly did not know the boundary between those. Yesterday was a very difficult sailing day with short puffs of wind strength and changes of wind direction. It certainly made sailing the boat quite difficult. The strength was obviously enough for us to gain a lead upwind and we probably got a little lucky downwind from the top mark, and carrying the breeze inshore and that probably exaggerated it somewhat.”
” Even though we had tried to sort of crudely measure the performance of Alinghi, but we did not know it, and that is why I say there was some uncertainty. We had reasonable confidence we would be faster upwind.”
Rolf Vrolijk (NED) Chief Designer Alinghi (SUI):
“I think if we get conditions we would like to have, we probably can be competitive. We’re for sure hoping to see another race maybe in different conditions and anther setup of our boat and hopefully be competitive.”