BMW ORACLE Racing congratulates Team New Zealand

November 27th, 2010

DUBAI, UAE (Nov. 27, 2010) – BMW ORACLE Racing fell short of its goal of winning the Louis Vuitton Trophy Dubai, the final regatta for the America’s Cup Class, when Emirates Team New Zealand scored a 2-0 victory in the final.

BMW ORACLE Racing led at the first windward mark in both races, but succumbed to uncharacteristic mishaps in crew work that their strong rival capitalized on.

“It’s pretty disappointing,” said James Spithill, the 31-year-old skipper from Australia. “We had our opportunities in both races, but they beat us fair and square. The results stand and we’ve got to congratulate them. They’re a strong team and sailed a good regatta.”

BMW ORACLE Racing lost the first race by 17 seconds in the final 100 meters approaching the finish line.

BMW ORACLE Racing had taken a penalty turn for a pre-start infraction on the second upwind leg and led by about two boatlengths when the two crews jibed towards the finish from opposite sides of the racecourse.

The Kiwi crew jibed into a patch of wind that allowed them to sail a more direct course to the finish and score the come-from-behind victory.

In the second race BMW ORACLE Racing led by 11 seconds at the windward mark, but the spinnaker ripped during the set when it caught on the ladder going belowdecks. The crew had to change sails and Emirates Team New Zealand sailed into the lead.

“That put us on the back foot,” Spithill said of the torn spinnaker. “It was a frustrating day. The conditions were tough, very light. I think both teams were expecting more breeze, but it’s the same for everyone and they were able to get it done today.”

Tactician John Kostecki of the U.S. described the conditions as between 6 and 9 knotswith shifts up to 40 degrees.

“It was a light-air day and real tricky,” said Kostecki. “Pressure was the key; a little pressure goes a long way. It was the first time in this series that we were passed from behind and it happened two races in a row. It was their day today, but it was a tough day for us.”

34TH America’s Cup announces partnership with Louis Vuitton

November 27th, 2010

Louis Vuitton Cup Once Again Challenger Series for the America’s Cup

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (27 November 2010) – The next major step in realizing its new vision, the America’s Cup Event Authority introduced its first partner, Louis Vuitton. A continuation of its 30-year long association with the America’s Cup, the Paris based fashion house will present the prize, the Louis Vuitton Cup, to the winner of the
America’s Cup Challenger Series, as well as serve as Official Timing for the 34th America’s Cup.

“We are thrilled to announce today the continuation of our 30-year partnership with the America’s Cup. Having met with the team several times, we believe that the 34th edition will be the best America’s Cup yet,” said Yves Carcelle, Chairman and CEO of Louis Vuitton Malletier.

In 2013, the Challenger Series will be staged with the winner earning the right to compete in the America’s Cup Finals. The Challenger series will be once again called the Louis Vuitton Cup, recognizing the brand’s long partnership with the America’s Cup. In addition, Louis Vuitton will be Official Timing for the America’s Cup World Series competitions, promoting its watch collection.

“We are extremely priveleged that our vision for the next America’s Cup has attracted the return of a company like Louis Vuitton,” said Richard Worth, Chairman, America’s Cup Event Authority. “The 34th America’s Cup will culminate in 2013, marking the 30th anniversary of Louis Vuitton’s support of the sport of sailing, so we could not be more
proud to see this great partnership continue and strengthen.”

Since 1983, the Louis Vuitton Cup Challenger Series has been held whenever there has been more than one challenger team for the America’s Cup. Its role is twofold – to select the best challenger team from the teams presented and, to prepare the winner for success against the Defender in the following America’s Cup Finals.

“I have competed for the Louis Vuitton Cup three times in the past, so I know how important it is to the  Challenger’s success. We welcome the return of Louis Vuitton and look forward to racing the winner of the Louis Vuitton Cup in 2013,” said Russell Coutts, CEO, BMW ORACLE Racing.

The Louis Vuitton Cup will be in the summer of 2013, with the America’s Cup Finals in early fall. The events will feature the AC72 wing-masted catamaran, a ground-breaking new boat designed to deliver unparalleled racing  competition and on-the-water excitement.

“Louis Vuitton is a House that cherishes the art of travel and the spirit of adventure. As a long-time partner, we are very happy to be able to accompany the future of the America’s Cup,” said Pietro Beccari, Executive Vice-President of Louis Vuitton.

BMW ORACLE Racing clinches round robin at Louis Vuitton

November 22nd, 2010

DUBAI, UAE (Nov. 22, 2010) – BMW ORACLE Racing clinched the top spot in the double round robin of the Louis Vuitton Trophy Dubai with a victory today over Emirates Team New Zealand.

Led by Australian skipper James Spithill, BMW ORACLE Racing defeated the Kiwi crew by 25 seconds. The win improved BMW ORACLE‟s record to 12-2, good for 15 points and an unassailable position atop the leaderboard.

“The mood’s great,” said runners/pit man and crew coach Dean Phipps. “We’ve worked hard for the past week and everything’s fallen into place as far as the crew goes. We’ve made some nice strides forward.”

Sailing in a light northerly wind, the pre-start action was relatively tame. Both crews are experienced and knew that keeping momentum after breaking off the dial-up was important.

BMW ORACLE tactician John Kostecki called for the right side of the start and Spithill obliged, bringing his crew onto the racecourse on starboard tack with Team New Zealand to leeward.

Both boats soon tacked to port and stretched out to the right edge of the racecourse. BMW ORACLE tacked to starboard and was able to force Team New Zealand to tack to leeward. The American yacht rounded the windward mark with a 10-second advantage.

“At one stage halfway across it looked a little marginal,” said Phipps. “But Murray (Jones, strategist) was calling the breeze to go right and it came just in time. A bit earlier would’ve been nicer, but we took it as it came and we crossed nicely ahead of them.”

The two crews traded jibes down the run and BMW ORACLE set up for a port rounding through the leeward gate. Team New Zealand followed but lost control of the spinnaker takedown. The sail fell in the water and the crew had to cut the halyard away.

“We made a nice powerful rounding for the left-hand gate and they got into what we call “no man’s land,‟” said Phipps. “When you get into that place, which side the sail comes down becomes an issue for the foredeck crew. It didn‟t look like they had a takedown string setup, and from there it just snowballs. The only way to get rid of it is to cut the halyard and let it all go.”

Riding aboard BMW ORACLE Racing today as 18th person was Christine Belanger, the Louis Vuitton representative who has helped organize the Louis Vuitton Trophy events with the World Sailing Teams Association.

“Today is a special day,” said Belanger. “It’s a great experience, one I’ve been lucky to do many times. The event here in Dubai is special because it’s the final event of the Louis Vuitton Trophy. It’s one page in the history of the trophy which comes to an end, so it’s very emotional.”

Tomorrow BMW ORACLE Racing concludes the round robin with a race against Mascalzone Latino Audi Team. The semifinals are slated to start on Friday, and the American crew will have the right to choose its opponent by winning the round robin.

Louis Vuitton Trophy Dubai Standings
1. BMW ORACLE Racing (USA) James Spithill – 15 points (12-2)
2. Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL) Dean Barker – 8.5 points (7-6)*
3. Mascalzone Latino Audi Team (ITA) Gavin Brady – 8 points (6-7)*
4. All4One (FRA/GER) Sebastien Col – 6 points (5-7)
4. Synergy Russian Sailing Team (RUS) Francesco Bruni – 6 points (6-7)*
6. Artemis Racing (SWE) Cameron Appleton – 5 points (5-8)
(* Points deducted for collision)

BMW ORACLE Racing keeps top spot at Louis Vuitton Trophy

November 21st, 2010

DUBAI, UAE (Nov. 21, 2010) – By splitting its two races today BMW ORACLE Racing maintained the top spot at the Louis Vuitton Trophy Dubai.

BMW ORACLE Racing skipper James Spithill and his crew defeated the Swedish-flagged Artemis Racing, a challenger for the 34th America’s Cup, by 1 minute and 3 seconds, and lost by 45 seconds to All4One, the combined French/German team.

“It was a little disappointing to lose the first race, but give credit to All4One,” said Ian Moore, the navigator from England. “They started well and sailed impeccably well. We see a lot in these races that if you win the start it helps to go on and win the race, and that’s what they did.

“But you can’t let it get you down,” Moore continued. “You’re going to lose races in a tournament as long as this and we rallied in the second race. Jimmy got a fantastic start and John (Kostecki, tactician) did a nice job calling the race and picking the shifts. It was good to get a victory against a strong team like Artemis.”

Day 8 of the regatta that runs through next weekend got off slowly as the race committee postponed the first start for more than two hours waiting for the wind to settle. Once in, the conditions were some of the lightest of the week, 6 knots from a northerly direction.

In the first race, the key moment came about two-thirds of the way up the beat. BMW ORACLE and All4One approached each other on opposite tacks, with BMW ORACLE holding the starboard advantage. But All4One was able to tack to starboard on the leeward bow of the American yacht and gain control of the match.

“It was a split tack start and we were in phase coming off the line on port tack with a left shift,” said Moore. “Later up the beat a right shift did come in, but if it had come in 30 seconds earlier we might’ve had a different result. They got a strong lee bow and did a good job not giving us an opportunity to get past the rest of the way.”

In the second race Spithill gave his crew an early advantage off the start line, crossing the line as the starting signal sounded while Artemis was slow and a few seconds late, but to windward.

The key moment came about 2 minutes in when BMW ORACLE was able to ride port tack across the bow of Artemis and plant a covering tack. From there Spithill and crew covered to sail away to their largest win of the series.

“We could almost tack and cross them straight after the start, but we held on for a little longer,” Moore said. “Then they got up to speed and it started looking dubious. We were getting out towards the port tack layline and at some point you’ve just got to go for it. You tack, have a look and decide if you can cross. If you can, that’s it. It was a very important moment in the race and we all sort of held our breath, but in the end it was an easy cross.”

The win improved BMW ORACLE Racing’s record to 11-2, good for 13 points, and allowed the team to keep its 4.5-point cushion over second-placed Emirates Team New Zealand on the leaderboard ahead of tomorrow’s showdown race. The pair is the third scheduled match of the day and will race in BMW ORACLE Racing’s two boats.

Louis Vuitton Trophy Dubai Standings
1. BMW ORACLE Racing (USA) James Spithill – 13 points (11-2)
2. Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL) Dean Barker – 8.5 points (7-5)*
3. All4One (FRA/GER) Sebastien Col – 6 points (5-6)
4. Artemis Racing (SWE) Cameron Appleton – 5 points (5-7)
5. Mascalzone Latino Audi Team (ITA) Gavin Brady – 4 points (4-7)*
5. Synergy Russian Sailing Team (RUS) Francesco Bruni – 4 points (5-6)*
(* Points deducted for collision)

BMW ORACLE Racing continues winning ways at Louis Vuitton

November 19th, 2010

DUBAI, UAE (Nov. 19, 2010) – BMW ORACLE Racing today ran its record at the Louis Vuitton Trophy Dubai to 10 wins in 11 starts with a 48-second victory over Synergy Russian Sailing Team on Day 6 of the two-week regatta, the start of Round 2.

The win allowed BMW ORACLE Racing, led by skipper James Spithill of Australia, to retain the top spot on the leaderboard with 11 points, 4.5 points ahead of second-placed Emirates Team New Zealand.

“We’re in a pretty solid position,” said mid-bowman Brad Webb of New Zealand, who has been with the team since its inception in 2000. “Jimmy’s been starting the boat brilliantly, and between JK (John Kostecki, tactician) and Murray (Jones, strategist), they’re putting the boat in the right place on the racecourse.”

By many accounts, the race was over before it started. With about 80 seconds to the start,Spithill lured Synergy into a trap, locking the Russian yacht on his windward aft quarter with no avenue for escape.

In full control, Spithill slowed the match down by sailing close to the wind. When the start gun sounded both boats were a couple of lengths behind the committee boat.

Then Synergy’s bow drifted to leeward and the port side grazed the starboard keep-off wand on the transoms of these 80-foot America’s Cup Class yachts. The on-water umpires penalized the Russian yacht for failing to keep clear.

Spithill entered the racecourse with a twoboatlength lead, and the race was all but over.BMW ORACLE led by 34, 37 and 50 seconds at the three mark roundings en route to the finish.

“It was an error on Synergy’s part,” said Webb,who mans the running backstays in the back of
the boat during the pre-start. “With a minute to go they were locked out, and it’s one of those situations where they have to sit back and wait it out. When their bow went down I think they were trying to build speed, but fortunately for us they incurred a penalty.”

“We’re pretty confident in our boathandling,” Spithill said. “The guys are doing a good job on the winch handles and trimming the sails. At the end of the day, the penalty was a bonus. I’m happy with how the guys are sailing the boat. Everyone’s getting better and learning every day. There’s a long way to go so that’s exciting.”

Tomorrow is an off day for the regatta as the sailors have been invited to participate in a local dhow race. The regatta schedule resumes Sunday with BMW ORACLE slated to race All4One and Artemis Racing.

Webb said that in this morning’s crew meeting coach Dean Phipps of New Zealand emphasized not to get too comfortable with the early success. There are still four races to sail, each worth 2 points, before the semifinals next Friday.

“I like our chances, but we can’t get too carried away,” Webb said. “We need to keep doing what we’ve been doing and stay focused on our jobs. At any minute the wheels could fall off. We’ve seen it happen to other teams and it’s appened to us. If we keep doing what we’re doing all will be fine.”

Louis Vuitton Trophy Dubai Standings
1. BMW ORACLE Racing (USA) James Spithill – 11 points (10-1)
2. Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL) Dean Barker – 6.5 points (6-5)*
3. Artemis Racing (SWE) Cameron Appleton – 5 points (5-5)
4. All4One (FRA/GER) Sebastian Col – 4 points (4-6)
4. Mascalzone Latino Audi Team (ITA) Gavin Brady – 4 points (4-6)*
4. Synergy Russian Sailing Team (RUS) Francesco Bruni – 4 points (4-6)
(* Points deducted for collision)

BMW ORACLE Racing wins Round 1 at Louis Vuitton Trophy

November 18th, 2010

 

Skipper Spithill credits coach Presti and crew for strong showing

DUBAI, UAE (Nov. 18, 2010) – BMW ORACLE Racing today wrapped up a nearly flawless performance in Round 1 of the Louis Vuitton Trophy Dubai with two wins over Mascalzone Latino Audi Team of Italy.

Skipper James Spithill and crew won the two races on Day 5 in light winds by 41 and 45 seconds to finish the round with a 9-1 record. A 1-second loss yesterday is all that kept the 33rd America’s Cup winner from a perfect score.

“I think we sailed pretty well. We had some very, very tight racing,” said Spithill of Australia.“The big improvement has been the communication throughout the boat. John (Kostecki,tactician), Murray (Jones, strategist) and Soapy (Ian Moore, navigator) have done a nice job in the afterguard.”

The last time the team raced a Louis Vuitton event was in La Maddalena, Italy, in June. Coming a few months after February’s emotional win in the America’s Cup, which BMW ORACLE Racing won aboard the 90-foot trimaran USA, the crew wasn’t quite ready to jump back into monohulls.

“We prepared properly for this one,” said Spithill. “We’ve done a lot of work in the afterguard with our coach, Philippe Presti. And Dean Phipps has stepped up the crew work on the boat. Everyone’s been a lot more honest about where we’re at in the monohull world and the amount of work we have to do to get to this level. Everyone’s had an open mind and wants to learn and improve. We’ve just got a very, very good attitude at this event.”

Spithill’s crew has credited him with giving them a great advantage off the start line. Spithill is known as a fierce pre-start competitor, and he’s shown that killer instinct again this week. The skipper credits Presti, the coach from France, for helping him regain his focus.

“A letdown was to be expected in La Maddalena,” said Presti. “It was so soon after the America’s Cup win. I’ve worked with the team to get them to visualize the game. I try to give them options. We’ve been working to create an atmosphere of good relationships and to build everyone’s confidence.”

While communication is flowing in the back of the boat, the good vibes are flowing throughout the crew.

“Everybody’s pretty happy about the performance,” said Brian MacInnes, the port-side grinder from Canada. “Things have tightened up a lot over the past few weeks and we’re getting it done. In the past we’ve been working on other things while in different places and it’s kept our mind out of sailing. This week our mind’s in the game.”

Round 2 of the regatta is scheduled to begin tomorrow. The six crews will sail a single round robin and wins will be worth 2 points instead of 1. The top four crews after the second round advance to the semi-finals, scheduled to begin next Friday, Nov. 26.

BMW ORACLE Racing holds top spot after split with Kiwis

November 17th, 2010

DUBAI, UAE (Nov. 17, 2010) – BMW ORACLE Racing ran its winning streak at the Louis Vuitton Trophy Dubai to seven races before it came to a halt in a 1 second loss.

The American crew split two races with Emirates Team New Zealand on Day 4 that left both crews happy but drained after two 30-minute races on short courses with tight,physical racing.

Despite suffering its first loss in eight starts, BMW ORACLE Racing leads the standings with 7 points on a 7-1 record, good enough to assure victory in this first round of the two weekregatta with two races to sail.

“The team’s sailing well and we’re happy,” said strategist Murray Jones of New Zealand. “It would’ve been nice to beat Team New Zealand twice today, but it doesn’t always happen like that. They were good, fun races.”

In the first race, skipper James Spithill of Australia guided BMW ORACLE Racing to a 19-second win. Taking the right side of the racecourse off the start line, Spithill used his starboard-tack advantage three-quarters of the way up the beat to dial down Team New Zealand and then slam dunk the Kiwi crew, pinning them to leeward with the mark nearby.

BMW ORACLE Racing led by 9 seconds at the first and second marks, but opened a significant 21-second advantage at the second windward mark.

“We wanted to protect the right side most of the beat,” said Jones, a veteran of many close races in America’s Cup Class sloops. “The boys were tacking the boat well and towards the top we got a right-hand shift with pressure. We got that and made a little gain.”

While the first race saw the sparring partners request a flurry of penalties on their opponent at the first mark rounding, the second race was less feisty in that regard. But it hardly lacked for action, and in the end produced the closest finish of the regatta – 1 second.

Team New Zealand got the jump off the starting line, gaining the favored right side. BMW ORACLE Racing trailed at the first two mark roundings by 11 and 8 seconds, and 8 seconds beginning the .8-nautical-mile run to the finish.

“We closed it up nicely on the beat. The tacks were good and we kept grinding away. We put ourselves in position to have a chance,” said Jones.

Early on the leg tactician John Kostecki called for a jibe to starboard and halfway down the leg it looked to be a winning move.

“The pin end was favored and we were laying it,” Jones said, “but in the last two minutes we started lifting and had to put in another jibe. If that hadn’t happened, I think we would’ve got there.”

After racing, the team celebrated trimmer Ross Halcrow’s 44th birthday. Halcrow, of New Zealand, is a two-time Cup winner, with BMW ORACLE Racing last February and Team New Zealand in 1995. He has also won the Volvo Ocean Race (2001-02).

Tomorrow’s racing schedule sees BMW ORACLE Racing taking on Mascalzone Latino Audi Team of Italy, the Challenger of Record for the 34th America’s Cup. Racing isn’t scheduled to start before 12:00 pm.

BMW ORACLE Racing defeats Synergy, eyes showdown with

November 16th, 2010

DUBAI, UAE (Nov. 16, 2010) – BMW ORACLE Racing kept its winning streak intact on
Day 3 of the Louis Vuitton Trophy Dubai, but only just.

Competing against Synergy Russian Sailing Team, BMW ORACLE Racing won the first
race by 58 seconds. The team then had to scramble from behind in the second race to
improve its record to 6-0.

“It feels good to be 6-0, but our second race was quite tight,” said tactician John Kostecki
of the U.S. “Synergy got an inside overlap at the bottom mark. We managed to get them to
tack away and incur a penalty, and out of that we got the starboard advantage and got
ahead on the last beat. It was a good race.”

The second race was tight from the start. The two yachts came off the start line close together, with BMW ORACLE
Racing to leeward and its bow slightly ahead.

BMW ORACLE Racing led by 12 seconds at the first mark after Synergy had to complete two extra tacks.

The American yacht maintained its lead down the run, but Kostecki said they got into trouble when he misjudged the
layline, the optimum course to the next mark.

“I called a bad layline and put the boat in a position we call „no man‟s land,‟” he said. “We ended up losing a lot and having to drop the spinnaker early. They carried theirs in and got the inside overlap and rounded ahead of us.”

Then the key moment of the race occurred. To leeward and outside, BMW ORACLE Racing skipper James Spithill luffed twice. After the second luff the on-water umpires penalized the Russian yacht and helmsman Francesco Bruni of Italy for failing to keep clear as a windward yacht.

“We luffed, they kept clear, but stayed there,” Kostecki said. “We luffed again and they were still there. I think the umps saw they should‟ve tacked and penalized them. They tacked away and we were able to rumble out to the right and had a strong position after that.”

BMW ORACLE Racing led by 16 seconds beginning the run to the finish and pushed its record to 6-0. The team leads the standings with 6 points and is followed by Emirates Team New Zealand in second with 2.5 points on a 3-2 record.

Tomorrow sees the two teams, the two most experienced crews in the regatta, square off for two races that should provide enthralling racing.

BMW ORACLE Racing won the 33rd America‟s Cup in February, while Team New Zealand was a finalist in the 32nd Cup and
previously won two Cups (1995, 2000). Additionally, Team New Zealand won the past two Louis Vuitton Trophy events in Italy (June) and New Zealand (March).

Looking forward to the showdown, Kostecki and the crew were happy to have a tough race against Synergy.

“I think if we would‟ve won that second race [without incident] we probably would’ve come out flat tomorrow,” Kostecki said. “Behind the scenes, it was good to have a tough race like that and make some mistakes.”

Racing tomorrow isn‟t scheduled to start before 12:00 pm.