Tuesday, January 19, 2010

BMW Oracle's USA 17 sails for the first time in Valencia

Amazing, spectacular. These two words would suffice in order to describe the first sail of BMW Oracle's USA-17 today in Valencia. Not only that, this is the first, and certainly last, time one gets the chance to watch the world's two most spectacular multihulls sailing in one's own back yard, well sort of. BMW Oracle's trimaran took her maiden sail on Tuesday afternoon, renamed from BOR 90 to USA, and since that was the name designated in BMW Oracle's challenge, it will come as no surprise that she will be the yacht to race Alinghi 5 in three weeks.

Conditions were, unfortunately, really poor today in Valencia. It was cold, foggy and the breeze peaked at 7 knots. In, addition the America's Cup challenger's schedule was also modified due to their base being inside the commercial port. While initially scheduled at 12:30pm, dock out didn't take place before 2pm as the crew had to wait for their turn to exit the busy port.

Despite the very light breeze, match racing maestro James Spithill gently squeezed the giant trimaran up to 22 knots of speed, sailing with just the wing sail. Similar to the boat speeds I reported during Alinghi's first sail, this measurement comes from my very unscientific observation of the tender's speed as we kept alongside USA-17 for about a minute. I counted 12 people on USA-17 but it appears the crew during the 33rd America's Cup match will be around 8. According to BMW Oracle, this sail was supposed to be a test and as result the crew only briefly hoisted the gennaker.

The maiden test didn't last more than two and a half hours, since BMW Oracle held a small official flag-raising ceremony with the mayor of Valencia and the president of the region, just like Alinghi did on Friday. The two politicians received a nice SLAM jacket from Russell Coutts, raised the Valencian and US flags on the pole and then expressed their reciprocal satisfaction in being the hosts and guests in Valencia. Let's only hope that we do have the two beasts race here in less than three weeks.

Wednesday will be a very difficult day for the two teams. The weather forecast calls for a front approaching Valencia, bringing strong breezes that could well reach 40 knots. As a precautionary measure, BMW Oracle's shore crew took the wing sail off the yacht and the training program will most probably start on Thursday.

First sail of BMW Oracle's USA-17 on Valencian waters. Valencia, 19 January 2010. Photo copyright Pierre Orphanidis / Valencia Sailing

First sail of BMW Oracle's USA-17 on Valencian waters. Valencia, 19 January 2010. Photo copyright Pierre Orphanidis / Valencia Sailing

First sail of BMW Oracle's USA-17 on Valencian waters. Valencia, 19 January 2010. Photo copyright Pierre Orphanidis / Valencia Sailing

First sail of BMW Oracle's USA-17 on Valencian waters. Valencia, 19 January 2010. Photo copyright Pierre Orphanidis / Valencia Sailing

First sail of BMW Oracle's USA-17 on Valencian waters. Valencia, 19 January 2010. Photo copyright Pierre Orphanidis / Valencia Sailing

First sail of BMW Oracle's USA-17 on Valencian waters. Valencia, 19 January 2010. Photo copyright Pierre Orphanidis / Valencia Sailing

First sail of BMW Oracle's USA-17 on Valencian waters. Valencia, 19 January 2010. Photo copyright Pierre Orphanidis / Valencia Sailing

First sail of BMW Oracle's USA-17 on Valencian waters. Valencia, 19 January 2010. Photo copyright Pierre Orphanidis / Valencia Sailing

Jimmy Spithill flies at more than 20 knots of speed. Valencia, 19 January 2010. Photo copyright Pierre Orphanidis / Valencia Sailing

First sail of BMW Oracle's USA-17 on Valencian waters. Valencia, 19 January 2010. Photo copyright Pierre Orphanidis / Valencia Sailing

Certainly not one of the most beautiful pictures but it clearly puts in evidence the canting mast that can tilt up to 15 degrees. The main idea of the canting mast is to keep it perpendicular to the water. When the yacht heels a lot to get the main hull out of the water, a vertical rig is more efficient because it keeps the maximum projected sail surface. Valencia, 19 January 2010. Photo copyright Pierre Orphanidis / Valencia Sailing

First sail of BMW Oracle's USA-17 on Valencian waters. Valencia, 19 January 2010. Photo copyright Pierre Orphanidis / Valencia Sailing

First sail of BMW Oracle's USA-17 on Valencian waters. Valencia, 19 January 2010. Photo copyright Pierre Orphanidis / Valencia Sailing

First sail of BMW Oracle's USA-17 on Valencian waters. Valencia, 19 January 2010. Photo copyright Pierre Orphanidis / Valencia Sailing

First sail of BMW Oracle's USA-17 on Valencian waters. Valencia, 19 January 2010. Photo copyright Pierre Orphanidis / Valencia Sailing

First sail of BMW Oracle's USA-17 on Valencian waters. Valencia, 19 January 2010. Photo copyright Pierre Orphanidis / Valencia Sailing

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27 Comments:

At 7:01 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The guys sitting under the wing seem to have a very dangerous job. I hope the wing will hold the power.....................

 
At 7:25 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Instead I'd rather sit under a coconut tree. Love a great challenge but not willing to take a mast & wing on the head!!
Go Go Go Alinghi, just make it happen another time, you've got the right tools and a unique team to lift it a third time

 
At 7:29 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

How ugly, clumsy and plump is this boat ....

 
At 7:38 PM, Anonymous Gareth Evans said...

22 knots in 7 knots of breeze! Wow - bring on the racing!

 
At 7:53 PM, Blogger david said...

so how fast alinghi in 7 knots

 
At 8:00 PM, Anonymous Ferrer said...

Ugly she is. But since this is not a beauty contest, it doesn't really matter. She is fast and this wing sail has got to be more efficient than a traditional soft sail. Specially at these speeds. I disagree with the post. I think this AC will be good for 10 seconds after the start. By then, one of these boats will fly be the other and it will be boring. Can't wait for this thing to be over and we go back to 15-20 teams fighting for a place at the AC races. That was thrilling.

 
At 8:23 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Pierre,

Could you judge how close to the wind the boat was going? I think this is as important as the boat speed, if not more...
22kts at 90° TWA is useless for a beat!
Thanks so much for the great shots, the boat definitely looks cool with a wing on!

 
At 8:27 PM, Blogger Mark said...

What a magnificent machine. Be safe and kick SNG where it hurts.

 
At 8:44 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Can someone help me with the definition of a sail and a sloop please?

 
At 8:46 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Does the new top of the wing has been constructed in the US?

Or was that the work we have seen in the BOR base in Valencia some days ago?

 
At 8:57 PM, Anonymous JamieF said...

what an awesome and wild machine

 
At 9:18 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anonymous.
I think you need to look at the logistics rather than the curves. Between Alinghi and the DOG, there is little difference to be had except for that wing. It'll be the difference between winner or loser.

 
At 9:18 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"was made in Valencia or in USA"
Come on! how can you be so naive, these guys are having a perfect methodology for every aspect of AC project (like it or not), they are challenging cic right now, and you ask that???

 
At 9:21 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

hey mr ferrer - you must be kidding about 15-20 teams "fighting" for the AC... Try 1-2 teams at the most - the other teams are living for the t shirt... and to pick up the paycheck...

 
At 9:22 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

BOR can build a wing in Valencia if they like. The CIC rules dictate that you can build in the venue location and your home country, everything else is against the rules.

 
At 9:52 PM, Anonymous Tony said...

Any ideas as to the crew on board today?

And I think she looks beautiful; powerful, meaningful and with a nice bit of rocker in the centre hull to help turning round corners. Plus the wing is a work of art imo.

Alinghi's boat looks very smart and you wouldn't want to bet against Rolf V. but...
Now if only could get some tacking or gybing times (the hardsail on USA has theoretically the possibility of quicker acceleration out of the turns and for the prestart can be used as a break as well).

 
At 9:59 PM, Blogger chocoa said...

great job pierre!!!!!

 
At 2:23 AM, Anonymous NVS said...

You Know What?

As the Spirit of the Cup is Fucked up Anyways. I think Alinghi (EB) has a great responsibility in it and maybe in a smaller way the Americans too.

Let's just sails these two machines....

CIC or not, I don't want to care about it any more. Speed wise it is not cheating (its just an irrelevant rule)

I'm not an Alinghi supporter even if I'm a European sailor.

I'm just curious to see who is the fastest...after preferably 5 or 7 winning races.

Our sport deserve a fare race.

NVS from Belgium

ps, my view

BOR; platform and and wing don't look so nice to me but maybe the wing is a better speed asset

Alinghi; pure and simple design, fast because of the well known soft sail technology or maybe over ruled by the power of the wing?

Time will tell, if we let them fight on the water...

 
At 2:35 AM, Blogger Jeremy Walker said...

@9.22pm Anon - sorry, chum, but no. CiC means Made in USA or Made in Suisse. The IRs (Interpretive Resolutions) that allowed construction in the venue country were repealed by SNG/Alinghi, along with all the other IRs.

 
At 4:48 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Me da la impresion que mas que dificil debe ser complejo domar el "caballo salvaje" (lo digo por el reglaje del ala) y que al menor descuido la "castaña" puede ser de aupa. En las maniobras de salida pueden haber hasta tortazos.

 
At 8:40 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

She is not a beauty...like Alinghi is - that's for sure!

 
At 9:04 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

alinghi is a boat, USA is a vessel

 
At 10:13 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I dunno beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Alinghi's hull's look pregnant to me. And a wing is more efficient generating less drag and sailing closer to the wind.

since the loads are less on a solid wingmast, I'd rather sit under one of them than under that massive carbon fiber drainage tube that Alinghi is flying. We've already seen those fail on these boats.

BTW a Sloop is a single masted vessel (like USA-17) that flys ONLY Fore/aft rigged sails (ie no square rigged sails) like the Gennaker USA-17 carries.

For those that did not watch her sailing in San Diego harbor, Tack to Tac is 12-15 seconds and Speed to Speed is 20-22 seconds (paradoxically the faster the tack the slower speed to speed).

Personally? I think wings are cool.

 
At 10:43 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

the cup logo is painted on the wrong way!

 
At 11:17 AM, Anonymous NVS said...

Dear Jeremy,

You see, you act as silly as Alinghi (and in a smaller way BOR too).


Because if we follow the rule, there is no race on 8th of February.

And what if we delay?

Alinghi will have to makes sails in a hurry and BOR even optimising their Wing better (maybe that's what they want/need; time).


I think Alinghi is ready in his actual configuration and I really hope BOR is also ready. I would be even ready to give BOR some extra time if they needed it. Just to have the two boats in their best shape for the race.

By the way as a European I think it's really silly to sail in wintertime in Valencia...but this something BOR wanted.

Hope you understand my neutral and good intentions.

If CIC is the truth, then we better send you the Cup straight away and get over the 33th America's Cup.

Alighi would have what they deserve but the big losers here would be the world wide sailing fans, and our sport.

Hope that the Cup can be won in dignity and for the prestige of it, which in many cases the only thing one wins after most regattas.

Yours, NVS

 
At 2:47 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good point NVS.
I even would go a step further : in the case BOR wins the cup in court, I would drop this f... cup in the middle of Atlantic Ocean (sorry for the fishes ...) and start another kind of match racing competition with FAIR AND PRECISE rules lead by a neutral and international surveyor !

 
At 3:22 PM, Anonymous JamieF said...

Dear NVS

Who is "we"??

 

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