Sea, Sail & Surf

Du grand large à la plage : Toute l’actualité des sports de glisse depuis 2000

Moët Cup • San Francisco

Alinghi - Oracle BMW Racing race again in San Francisco

mardi 16 septembre 2003Redaction SSS [Source RP]

In front of a spectator fleet of close to 100 boats, and with a sizeable crowd lining the shore and filling the VIP tents, America’s Cup America's Cup #AmericasCup holder ALINGHI and Challenger of Record Record #sailingrecord ORACLE BMW Racing staged a match racing clinic on San Francisco Bay Monday afternoon (local time).

Alinghi and Oracle BMW Racing back from san Francisco Gate’s upwind buoy
Photo Bob Grieser

With Alcatraz Island looming in the background, the two teams dueled in 20-knots of wind, battling for the MOËT CUP.

The event promised exciting, short course racing, close to land, and in full view of the spectators. Monday‚s action delivered on that promise, with close, intense racing, and highlight reel match-race maneuvers.

In the first race of the day, Larry Ellison gained a measure of revenge for the Louis Vuitton Cup Final. Ellison was at the helm of his ORACLE BMW Racing boat (USA-76) to beat Ernesto Bertarelli on ALINGHI (SUI-64), in the first race of the MOËT CUP. With the win, Ellison jumps ahead 1 - 0 in the Owner - Driver series.

For the second race, the Pro-Drivers took the helm and Jochen Schuemann demonstrated immediately why he has three Olympic medals to his credit. After a relatively mild pre-start dance, ALINGHI came off the line flying, hitting top speed, and crossing the start line just as the gun fired.

ORACLE BMW Racing helmsman Gavin Brady appeared happy with his start to leeward of ALINGHI and the teams began short tacking up the San Francisco shoreline, with Brady pushed right in along Fisherman’s Wharf and the Aquatic Centre.

The teams switched sides approaching the top mark, and with Brady in a powerful position on the right, the USA-76 helmsman simply ran out of room, the shoreline forcing him to tack before the port tack layline. Otherwise he surely would have led SUI-64 into the weather mark. In the event, the teams dueled just to leeward of the mark, with both boats held up in irons, before Schuemann was able to quickly fall back onto starboard tack before tacking around the mark with a 10-second lead.

ALINGHI was fast downwind all day, and this race was no exception with the Swiss extending to a 14-second lead. The second lap of the course changed nothing, and Schuemann earned his first win as skipper of SUI-64. The ALINGHI team takes a 1 - 0 lead in the Pro-Driver series, with the 26-second victory.

Earlier in the afternoon, in the first race of the day, Ellison established control early, entering from the starboard side of the line, dialing-up against ALINGHI, and holding position as the boats drifted upwind of the starting line. The long days of practice that Ellison has put in over the past month paid immediate dividends, as the American looked sharp leading back to the line and winning the start.

Bertarelli was hung up on the windward side of the start line with what appeared to be an override on the on the backstay, preventing the mainsail from being eased to allow the boat to bear off for the correct side of the start line. ALINGHI was stalled in irons, just before the start, with seconds ticking away towards the start gun.

The ORACLE BMW Racing team converted that start line lead into a controlling position up the entire weather leg. Bertarelli tried to make a gain by sailing up the shore line, out of the contrary current, but Ellison held on to lead by 22-seconds around the top mark.

ALINGHI made a nice gain downwind, eventually securing an inside position sailing deep on starboard tack in towards the leeward mark, but again, Ellison was ready. The ORACLE BMW Racing team luffed ALINGHI several boat lengths past the leeward mark, before gybing back for the mark. ALINGHI was flagging the Umpires for a penalty on USA-76, but in vain, as the Umpires ruled there was no foul. Bertarelli was forced to tack around to make the mark and trailed by 25-seconds as USA-76 accelerated off ahead of him.

On the second lap of the course, USA-76 maintained its lead, with Bertarelli again looking fast downwind. But the race would belong to Larry Ellison, who draws first blood in the MOËT CUP with a 27-second win. Racing continues in the MOËT CUP on Tuesday.

- Larry Ellison (ORACLE BMW Racing) on winning his first America‚s Cup Class race as skipper : "Winning is certainly better than losing, but the quality of racing, I think, was just spectacular today. The racing was incredibly close - there was lots of action around the marks maybe more action than we would have liked !"

- Larry Ellison on ’beating’ ALINGHI : "We haven’t beaten ALINGHI. This is just the first day of a 12-race regatta. (The scoreline) is one - one. It’s great to be part of sailing that’s this close and this competitive where the tactics and maneuvers around the mark are so exciting for the sailors and for the viewers. We haven’t beaten ALINGHI yet. We hope to be competitive and we’re going to work very hard to try and beat ALINGHI but that remains to be seen."

- Jochen Schuemann (ALINGHI) on having to give ’sea-room’ when the boats tack up the shoreline : "For America’s Cup America's Cup #AmericasCup boats it’s not usual but in other match races it does happen often and we agreed from the beginning, because we don’t want to risk any of our boats, that whenever the inner boat asks for water, we will give it and we did. There was no problem at all and it all worked very safely."

- John Kostecki (ORACLE BMW Racing) on his ’home-court’ advantage : "Yeah, we think we have an advantage. It‚s great having grown up here and having sailed many miles here between Larry and myself I think we have a good understanding of the Bay and we‚re contributing to the afterguard that way and hopefully that’s a little edge we have."

- Simon Daubney (ALINGHI) on the gains that his team made downwind : "I think in that first race that we were just getting the puffs a little before ORACLE BMW and we were able to put the pole back and sail a little bit deeper."

- Chris Dickson (ORACLE BMW Racing) on his team’s performance in the second race : "We had more bad tacks than we would have liked this afternoon and we had a couple of small pieces of equipment on the boat that weren’t working as we would have liked… We all get used to seeing these boats work perfectly and the reality is that there’s a huge amount of crew co-ordination needed to sail these boats at a top level. Usually the guys make it look a lot easier than it really is. Today we had a 95% day on some issues instead of 99%."

Ellen MacArthur, on her experience sailing as a guest on ORACLE BMW Racing : "I learned that you can’t sail an America‚s Cup Class boat by yourself… there’s such a number of people working so hard. The race actually takes a long time but it goes just like that on the boat because everyone is so busy every second. It just shows how important the training is and how much time on the water you really need. That was the most impressive thing."

Information MOËT CUP /

A la une