Wednesday, May 07, 2008

BMW Oracle: busy sailing season ahead

[Source: BMW Oracle] Following the season-opening regatta in RC 44s in Italy, the sailing team gears up this month for a very full program competing in RC 44s, TP 52s and Extreme 40 catamarans in Spain, Austria and France.

“We are racing across a range of classes and against some great competitors this season,” said BMW ORACLE Racing helmsman James Spithill. “Right now we are placing more priority on multihulls and match racing in preparation for the 33rd America’s Cup.” This includes an in-house match racing series in Extreme 40s in Valencia later this month and a 60-foot multihull training session in France in June.

Next week, nine BMW ORACLE Racing team members will join Torbjorn Tornqvist on board Artemis in the season opener of the TP 52 Med Cup circuit in Alicante, Spain May 13-17. John Kostecki will call tactics and will be joined by eight other BMW ORACLE team members. BMW ORACLE Racing will enter a new TP 52, USA 17, later in the season with an afterguard that will include Spithill as well as team owner Larry Ellison and skipper Russell Coutts.

In Valencia, an in-house regatta May 20-22 will pit two Extreme 40s head-to-head for team bragging rights in the high-performance catamarans. Many of the core sailing team will compete including Coutts, Spithill and Kostecki and multihull consultant Franck Cammas. The team also plans to return to France next month for its second training session with Cammas on the 60-foot multihull Groupama 2. In other multihull sailing, Kostecki and Cammas teamed up last weekend in Geneva at the Grand Prix Chopard D35, placing sixth overall.

The team will return to the RC 44 circuit with a BMW ORACLE Racing entry for the Austria Cup on Lake Traunsee May 28-June 1. As in Cagliari, Italy last month,12 BMW ORACLE Racing crew will compete across three entries. After winning the match racing event at Cagliari and placing second in the fleet racing, Larry Ellison is planning to be at the helm again for the BMW ORACLE Racing entry in Austria.

“Racing in the RC 44s is a great chance to get out and compete against some of the top guys, and we can continue to develop our match racing techniques,” Spithill said. “We are enjoying the match racing so this circuit will continue to be a priority for us. In both the RC 44 and the TP 52 classes, we have our crew across different teams so we compete against each other as well. With all of this racing, we are learning from each other and our competitors.”

The team’s Valencia base is also serving as the Med training camp for Olympic Star class contenders Hamish Pepper and Carl Williams who will represent New Zealand at the Games in China in August.

BMW ORACLE Racing is preparing for the 33rd America’s Cup in a Deed of Gift challenge expected later this year.

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