Wednesday, February 11, 2009

LV Pacific Series: Alinghi beats BMW Oracle in 1st race of the Challenger finals

The much awaited first race of the Challenger final of the Louis Vuitton Pacific Series followed the form book. The America's Cup Defender beat BMW Oracle after trailing up to the finish line, proving once again that in such tight and close matches you only win you if commit the least possible errors.

It all appeared, at least at the beginning, that Russell Coutts and BMW Oracle would have continued their winning streak of the day and return to port with three wins under their belt, in three races. They had a clean start with a slight edge, were ahead in the first crossing and rounded the top weather mark with a slim advantage.

In the first run Baird fiercely attacked the American boat but again Coutts rounded the leeaward gate ahead, even if it was by only 2 seconds. In the second beat the BMW Oracle played well the left shift and built a nice lead at the second top mark. Nevertheless, the same shift that gave them the lead would put them into trouble in the last stretch of the race.

According to PRO Peter Reggio, when he moves the top mark due to a change in the race course, he readjusts accordingly the finish line by moving the pin end, in order for the race course to square. Both teams were informed but according to Hamish Pepper, tactician on BMW Oracle, his team forgot to adjust its strategy to that fact.

In the last stretch of the race, the two yachts split apart and Alinghi sailed towards the committee boat. A small puff of wind pushed the Swiss boat towards the finish line, stealing the victory from BMW Oracle by just 1 second.

The preatart lacked the thrills of the previous days and Alinghi crossed the line trailing BMW Oracle. Auckland, 11 February 2009. Photo copyright Pierre Orpahnidis / Valencia Sailing

At the very first crossing of the race, BMW Oracle was ahead. Auckland, 11 February 2009. Photo copyright Pierre Orpahnidis / Valencia Sailing

BMW Oracle starts the 1st run in a leading position. Auckland, 11 February 2009. Photo copyright Pierre Orpahnidis / Valencia Sailing

Halfway through the 1st run Brad Butterworth checks upon BMW Oracle. Auckland, 11 February 2009. Photo copyright Pierre Orpahnidis / Valencia Sailing

Racing couldn't get any closer in the 1st run. Auckland, 11 February 2009. Photo copyright Pierre Orpahnidis / Valencia Sailing

Alinghi's foredeck getting ready to round the leeward gate. Auckland, 11 February 2009. Photo copyright Pierre Orpahnidis / Valencia Sailing

BMW Oracle opts for the right buoy of the leeward gate. Auckland, 11 February 2009. Photo copyright Pierre Orpahnidis / Valencia Sailing

BMW Oracle is still ahead in the 2nd beat. Auckland, 11 February 2009. Photo copyright Pierre Orpahnidis / Valencia Sailing

BMW Oracle rounds the 2nd top mark with a comfortable advantage. Auckland, 11 February 2009. Photo copyright Pierre Orpahnidis / Valencia Sailing

BMW Oracle starts the final run leading the race. Auckland, 11 February 2009. Photo copyright Pierre Orpahnidis / Valencia Sailing

That's where it goes wrong for BMW Oracle. They don't cover Alinghi and allow the two boats to separate. They head to the pin end while Alinghi opts for the committee boat. Auckland, 11 February 2009. Photo copyright Pierre Orpahnidis / Valencia Sailing

After trailing for more than 1 hour, Alinghi crosses the finish line 1 second ahead of BMW Oracle. Auckland, 11 February 2009. Photo copyright Pierre Orpahnidis / Valencia Sailing

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1 Comments:

At 2:33 PM, Anonymous Larry Elison said...

Shite, what a bummer. Now we have to go back to court and sue the bastards again. Well, somehow we will win some damned race ..... be it in court as we don't have our stuff together on the water!

 

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