The Wing is King: First blood for
Challenger BMW ORACLE
Racing Team (USA) scored the vital first win in the
best-of-three race series that is the 33rd America’s
Cup off Valencia, Spain.
The American team, sailing under the flag of San
Francisco’s Golden Gate Yacht Club, were quickly
able to overturn an early mistake when they were
caught flat footed on the wrong side of the start
Despite an initial deficit when they crossed the
start line of 1 minute and 27 seconds, the trimaran
USA, with its massive 68 metres wing sail was able
to pass the Defender’s catamaran Alinghi 5 after
around 15 minutes of the 20 nautical mile windward
BMW ORACLE Racing Team’s final Race 1 winning margin
of 15 minutes and 28 seconds is the biggest in the
history of the America’s Cup since the 27th edition
in 1988, the last Deed of Gift match, when the USA’s
catamaran Stars & Stripes won successive matches
against New Zealand’s KZ 1 monohull by 18 mins 15
secs and 21 mins 10 secs.
It is the first time that double America’s Cup
winner Alinghi has lost an America’s Cup match race
since they were defeated by Emirates Team New
Zealand on Monday 25th June 2007.
Then Alinghi went on to win three successive matches
to retain the America’s Cup, but now Sunday’s
scheduled second race, around the 39 miles Deed of
Gift triangle course, of three 13 miles legs,
becomes a ‘must win’ for the Defender’s crew.
led at the first mark
By the windward turn of today’s race USA was 3
minutes and 21 seconds ahead and the black and white
hulled trimaran broke the finish line in the growing
dusk, to record a winning margin of 15 minutes and
USA, with James Spithill (AUS) steering, managed to
immediately inflict a penalty on the Swiss crew when
Alinghi 5 entering the starting box with no right of
way, could not cross ahead of the Challengers.
Starting at 1435hrs (local) in around 6-7 knots of
southerly breeze, the heart stopping opening
manoeuvers proved some of the best and worst of
match-racing the giant multihulls. Conditions
throughout were ideal for the historic first head to
head match between the cutting edge, giant
While USA was able to catch Alinghi out for tacking
in their water, when both were on the wrong side of
the start line, USA could not then capitalize.
When the Swiss catamaran was able to peel away with
speed to cross within ten or 15 seconds of the start
gun, USA was stalled out, unable to get moving back
towards the start.
USA showed superior speed through much of the upwind
leg, their edge to windward appearing to be greatest
when they sailed ‘wing only’ with no jib but just
the giant solid wing mainsail, but it was on the
long downwind leg that USA was able to extend most
over the catamaran.
A lead of three minutes and 21 seconds at the only
turn of the historic Deed of Gift course was
increased to somewhere around 10 minutes and 8
seconds when Alinghi 5 crossed the finish.
The Defender Alinghi did not initially complete
their penalty turn correctly, and it took them an
additional five minutes to finally complete their
The second race is scheduled Sunday, warning signal
33rd America’s Cup, Race 1.
USA (BMW ORACLE Racing, USA) defeat Alinghi 5 (Alinghi,
Start | Windward | Finish
BMW ORACLE Racing