Monday, February 15, 2010

BMW Oracle Racing win the America's Cup

Australia's James Spithill has achieved his ultimate dream by steering BMW Oracle Racing to victory in the 33rd America's Cup.  At 30, Spithill has become the youngest ever skipper to win the Auld Mug.

The massive black and white trimaran, USA 17 with team founder Larry Ellison on board, charged across the finish line in Race Two defeating the Swiss defender's Alinghi 5 by five minutes and 26 seconds to take out the series 2-0.

"I am stoked. This has been an amazing experience, but especially for the sailors. Pretty much everyone on the boat had very little multihull experience beforehand. For me personally it was a really steep hill to climb," Spithill said.

After enduring a six hour and 25 minute delay, racing got underway in six to nine knots of breeze that saw Alinghi 5 penalised for an error in the start box, their second successive penalty during the pre-start sequence. USA-17 led off  the start line by 24 seconds but the Swiss team hooked into extra wind pressure and a favourable 20 degrees shift in wind direction that allowed them to build momentum. At one stage they were leading the American trimaran by 600 metres.

But unlike Friday's whitewash, when USA 17 sailed steadily away from Alinghi 5, the windward leg was nail-biting right up until when the American trimaran rounded the first mark with a small advantage. On the approach to the windward mark of the 39 mile triangle course, USA 17 came back when they squeezed inside the line of Alinghi 5, to snatch 28 seconds ahead.

With winds surging up to 30 knots at times on the first of two 13 nautical mile reaches, the powerful trimaran with it's 223 foot high solid wing sail rig was able to gain two minutes and 16 seconds by the second turning mark. After a gybe, the challenger from the Golden Gate Yacht Club in San Francisco went on to win by five minutes and 26 seconds.

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