BMW Oracle Racing keeps its promises
After the regattas in fleet, first round of the Marseilles Louis Vuitton Act 1, the victory of TEAM BMW Oracle Racing is clear. The American challenge did not leave any chance to its competitors.
The 32nd edition of America’ s Cup began last weekend and offered to the Marseilles public a beautiful program. For this reason, the owner of the Swiss syndicate Alinghi Ernesto Bertarelli had announced that he intended to give a new breath to the “race of the races”. The Class America thus began with regattas in fleet, preludes to the match races between two crews. The defender had thus to impose its rhythm to its challengers, and particularly to TEAM BMW Oracle Racing.
The first regatta started a spectacular series of races on a sea with extreme wind conditions – more than 25 knots – which were hard to anybody. From the very beginning, whereas the TEAM Alinghi led the fleet beating drum, its spi was split into two parts and failed in the water. It was the same, a few minutes later, for TEAM New Zealand. The favourite of the Marseilles public, K-Challenge, baptized two days earlier on the Old Port, broke its boom. Unfortunately, the crew only had one boom so it was necessary to do with this loss until the end. In spite of a lull of the wind in race end, the operations were particularly sporty for the crews of these boats with oversized sails, for the beginners of TEAM Shosholoza or the experienced crew of Oracle. For the Défi, the loss of four spis studded a hard race for a team being aware of the modesty of its means.
However, this first day, which respected the classification of the previous edition of the Cup, only represented a warm up for the BMW Oracle Racing crew. After having measured its challengers, the team started to show its superiority with the following regattas. Their ambition is clear: each pre-regatta is already a true final itself. With similar weather conditions, the Class America boats evolved on September 6th and 7th in a very challenging environment for the crews. At this game, BMW Oracle Racing carried out a perfect race by winning all the regattas in spite of a strong south-east wind with 32 knots gusts. The defender Alinghi and TEAM New Zealand were however not in arrears. Nevertheless, some slight errors of transfer of the Swiss boat when passing buoys, such as that of the first regatta of tuesday, added to the lack of training of the New Zealand crew consolidated the operations of Oracle. Bertrand Pacé, second coxswain, confirmed in the evening the beautiful rate of the boat in back wind. The motivation of the K-Challenge team paid: Thierry Peponnet took the boat in hand and progress is there every day. The French boat thus impressed the public on monday by leading the race during a long time. The South-African team of Shosholoza remained careful in their operations but start to acquire an experiment that will be, without any doubt, very helpful in Valence. For the Défi, repeated breakages penalized qualities of a team able to carry out beautiful starts.
Wednesday September 8th was thus not devoted to a well-deserved rest. The three days of competition were hard to the material and the activity at the village appeared to be intense; each crew, in particular the Défi, spent time repairing spis and genoas.
Final General Classification of Act I pre-regattas in Maseille:
1.BMW ORACLE Racing Team: 46 point
2.Team Alinghi: 44 points
3.Emirates Team New Zealand: 42 points
4.LE DEFI: 17 points
5.K-Challenge: 17 points
6.Team Shosholoza: 8 points
– AM –