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.”