Ameria’s Cup 33: Beat My Wing – Alinghi 1 – 0

A tweet coined BMW Oracle aptly Beat My Wing. Why aptly? Because BMW Oracle uses a very high tech new type of wing sail. It looks like an airplane wing and in the upwind leg they even took away their jib and let the wing sail do all the work. Truly amazing technology:

Here you can see the main sail’s wing form. Usually sails are made of one or another soft material, in the early days of sailing it used to be cotton. The BMW Oracle wing has a rigid structure. Like in an airplane wing the aft part can be trimmed separately from the front part to have a proper wing form on either tack. Between the front part and the aft part there is a split that varies according to the trimming and provides a venturi effect like the jib and mainsail split in the more traditional setting.

In an amazing downwind leg that BMW Oracle entered with a 3.26 minute (approximately 1 statutory mile) lead over Alinghi, it simply sailed away from Alinghi with a lower course and a higher speed than Alinghi to win with a ten minutes delta (approximately 3.5 km lead) and then Alinghi had to make a penalty turn, because of a near collision in the dial up to the start when tacking shortly before the start in the way of BOR while BOR clearly had to start luffing before Alinghi had completed its tack.

Another quote: Alinghi’s Sail is Fail, Bor’s Wing is King

Alinghi appear not to have completed their penalty properly and so the final delta is 15 minutes and 28 seconds.
And USA cross the finish line to provisionally win Race 1 of the 33rd America’s Cup. Delight for the American team and certain vindication in these conditions for the concept of the solid wing sail and the trimaran platform.
Alinghi shedding some water ballast again trying to keep the power on in the lighter conditions. Something like 10 minutes to the finish line.
Hard to judge what the delta will be, but the biggest recent Cup Match margins were in the 27th America’s Cup in 1988, the Deed of Gift ‘mis-match’, when USA’s Stars and Stripes consecutively defeated New Zealand’s KZ1 by 18 minutes and 15 seconds and then 21 minutes and 10 seconds.
Over half way down the downwind leg now.
USA extending all the time, sailing deeper and faster all the time than Alinghi who are now 3440 metres behind. Certainly the consensus at the moment is that the power and efficiency of the BMW ORACLE Racing Team wing is actually more telling downwind.
So USA is making 26 knots downwind and seem to consistently be able to fly their windward hulls for longer, peaking now at 28.5 knots of boat speed. Wind speed at the finish is eight knots at 160 degrees. And great work from Harold Bennett and his crew getting this race away, a great spectacle.
Alinghi gybe first, USA respond almost immediately. USA leading by 2980 metres or so.
And USA peak speed there is around 25 knots as they spear deeper and faster ‘downind’ than Alinghi in a puff, and as soon as they get their bow lower and sail faster than Alinghi for any length of time then their gains multiply. Now over 2000 metres of lead to USA. Big changes in course as the apparent wind builds and the leader powers up, Jimmy Spithill USA helmsman bringing the bow down and sailing deep and fast. Alinghi pressing well too.
So net on that upwind leg BMW Oracle pulled back something around 5 minutes on Alinghi, including that initial deficit.

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