America’s Cup 33: Spectacular! They Are Racing err Flying!

The Live Video coverage is amazing. For the first time I see a sailing race live from my armchair via the internet in an amazing quality!
I’d better not have too many screens open, because the more screens I have open the more hiccups I am getting in the stream.

Watching live and trying to post about it at the same time slows down the stream tremendously.

Just copying and pasting the Live Ticker at America’s Cup site and publishing it at the moment they are at the windward mark.

Wind looks a little lighter but Alinghi marginal for flying a hull on approach to the turning mark, they go around 3 minutes 21 seconds – we believe – behind USA

And at an hour and a half after the start USA bear away at the windward mark first, unrolling their huge downwind headsail, breeze is about seven knots.
Alinghi tacking now on to port for their approach to mark 1, navigator Juan Vila (ESP) calling the time to the top mark to helm Bertarelli, tactician Brad Butterworth, strategist Murray Jones, all, of course, America’s Cup winners. Bow and mast crew are preparing the downwind headsail, as they are on USA. Advantage to USA about 1400 metres or so.
USA now approaching the port tack layline, an hour and 21 minutes after the start, their speed dropping to 6.5 knots as they tack. Speed building on port tack now. Alinghi still to tack. Will they take their penalty before the turn, or hang on?
Still Ernesto Bertarelli steering Alinghi, just getting a little marginal to keep the weather hull flying on Alinghi. USA have unrolled an upwind headsail to apply a little more power, anticipating the softening of the breeze as they approach the windward mark.

So downwind there is very little difference between the apparent wind angle generated to that upwind, only five or six degrees. Breeze has dropped a little for both as they approach the port lay line. The wind is between 160 degrees at 10 knots at the windward mark.
The question is when Alinghi will do their penalty, they must do a gybe if they are going upwind or a tack if they are going downwind. Breeze has picked up to around 10 knots at the windward mark. USA are setting up their giant gennaker for the downwind leg.
Around six miles to the windward mark, one hour and two minutes into the whole 40 miles race. BMW ORACLE Racing leading by something like 1260 metres.
So USA lead now by 730 metres and as the breeze decreases we see Alinghi shedding some water ballast. Breeze at the weather mark is around seven knots at 165 degrees.
Alinghi tack but so far no response from USA. Alinghi’s speed only dropped to 10 knots through the tack and they looked pretty slick. USA tacks now.
So certainly much closer than most expected, really not much between them in terms of boat speed. Speculation had the crossover between the two around 8-9 knots wind speed perhaps and we are pretty close to that. At the top mark we hear the wind is lighter, maybe 5.5 to 6 knots. About half way up the 20 miles beat now. Really very close, despite the huge differences in design philosophy. Perhaps the design teams taking a quiet sigh of relief, but huge credit is due to both design and build teams…. and those who have put in the hundreds of thousands of man hours of labour to get here. Fantastic match so far…..
Alinghi catching, now 140 metres or so behind when they were 440 metres behind.
And USA sitting consistently higher and faster, wing only. Dirk De Ridder (NED) trimming the wing, very experienced sailor on his second America’s Cup, won the round the world race with USA tactician John Kostecki and trimmer Ross Halcrow.
USA have now rolled away their jib and are flying wing only, no jib and are expected to point a little higher, now making consistently 19 knots plus and hit 20 knots boat speed.
So at around 15 minutes after the start USA overhaul Alinghi and make good that initial deficit of around 650 metres when they got across the start line. Both making between 17 and 19 knots in 6-7 knots.
USA appear to have their weather hull flying higher consistently and are sailing at a very slightly higher angle to the breeze. 180 degrees at the windward mark, eight knots.
And USA are closing in to Alinghi now there is 235 metres between the two, but of course Alinghi have their penalty to unload. But there is really little difference in speed, USA maybe has the small edge.
At the Windward Mark we now have 8 knots of wind at 180°, Alinghi have changed now to an upwind jib from their bigger GZero. Alinghi’s lead has almost halved since the start, around 450 metres ahead.
Alinghi lead by about 650 metres, boat speeds are roughly even around 18 knots. USA are now catching a little less than five minutes into Race 1. USA look to be sailing a few degrees higher but they are in slightly different pressure.
USA have not yet started and it is about 1 minute 45 seconds after the gun that the challenger gets back to the start line.
USA to the right and both boats are above the start line, Alinghi have the penalty. USA have stalled, flat footed and are stuck, Alinghi win the start and USA are all but stopped on the wrong side of the line.
Both very slow with two minutes to go, Alinghi pinned to the left of the box a little and USA have the upper hand for sure.
Alinghi cannot cross and USA take the immediate advantage, USA force penalty on Alinghi for failing to keep clear.
Getting ready for entry to the start box at 5 mins, timing is crucial. Alinghi at 23 knots USA making 17 knots as the gun.
The excitement is palpable now, tension unbelievable. We are inside the ten minutes countdown. Breeze still around five to six knots. USA dropping the gennaker to the deck making a change and now have a light genoa and USA eject a back-up crew into the water at around 6min 30 to go.
USA 17 have rolled their headsail away again and are on station at the committee boat as the AP flag comes down, game on.
So Principal Race Officer Harold Bennett confirms now that the breeze has settled again and he plans to drop the AP flag at 1424 local time, Attention signal 1425h, start planned 1435hrs. USA roll their headsail out again and away they go.
Still Alinghi are a sailing around at 15 to 16 knots of boat speed, occasionally flying a hull. They seem to want to go racing for sure, USA still holding fire cruising six or seven knots with their headsail away now. Breeze is 155 deg at the WW1 and start, 160 deg in middle of track and 155 at the start area, 3 knots at the startline area and 5 knots offshore at WW1 mark.
So we remain on hold, breeze is reported to have dropped to 2-3 knots.
Conditions could not be better, 2 minutes to the AP down. Ten minutes to the start after that. The final coordinates of the WW1 mark is 39°29´9590N / 00°03´0580 E. AP flag has remained up so the planned start schedule is delayed. Breeze has dropped a little but both boats still making over ten knots.
USA 17 have a big ‘downwind’ headsail up, Mast man Matt Mason confirmed yesterday that skipper-helm James Spithill was fired up to go for a penalty on Alinghi 5 if at all possible.
AP flag will come down at 1359hrs, F flag signal at 1400hrs. Wind WW1 mark is 175° at 6 knots and at the committee boat it is 185° wind speed 7 knots. Looks like we will get Race 1 of the 33rd America’s Cup under way. Practice races have previously taken between 2.5 and 3.5 hours on this Deed of Gift race. USA 17 have now unrolled their jib.
Just ten degrees of difference between the wind direction at the WW1 mark and the start line, 180° 6,5 knots at the cttee boat, and 190° 6 knots at WW 1 windward mark, which is pretty favourable. Seas are flat-ish.
Breeze is quite puffy where Alinghi 5 are going through their paces, making 17 knots, flying their hull high for a few seconds before settling, pretty spectacular.
USA just keeping their powder dry meantime, maybe Alinghi pressing the impetus to go racing, showing the conditions look good but race officer Harold Bennett just biding his time, waiting for the conditions to improve a little more. USA sitting almost stationery.
Alinghi accelerate immediately to 17 to 18 knots in five knots of wind, flying a hull and this is them just warming up. Breeze seems stable in terms of direction all the way down the course, around, most recently 3,5 knots at 165°at the WW1 mark and 190 ° 6 knots at the Committee Boat.
So still looking pretty good with the wind at 180° blowing 6.5 knots at Committe boat and 195° and 5 knots at the WW1 mark. Breeze is reported to by quite puffy at the moment, with some variation in pressure across the course. But that is pretty inevitable given that the windward leg will of course be 20 miles. Alinghi unrolling a light no 1 jib. BMW Oracle still no jib yet.
Loick Peyron (FRA) is on the helm of Alinghi 5 at the moment. Might he have the helm at the start? He said the other day that he certainly never expected to be racing the America’s Cup in a multihull, but here he is….the only man on board the Swiss defender never to have won the America’s Cup. He is due to alternate with Ernesto Bertarelli. Peyron said he was only expecting to share the steering when required, through tacks and so on, but we will see….
Start line is moving three miles to the east, further off the coast at Castellon/Burriana, something like six miles offshore now.
The committee boat is now moving slightly to the west, we believe and the race boats, Alinghi 5 and USA, are moving west as well. It is certainly still cold on the water and the wind chill on board the competing boats, when they ramp up to 20-odd knots boat speeds will be significant.
So it looks we could be Game On, America’s Cup history in the making, the first time we have seen two multihulls in the America’s Cup match. Windward mark breeze is 130° at 4 knots and at the committe boat 195° 5 knots, conditions improving all the time. But in general we are having breezes which were forecast. Both boats are sailing around seven to nine knots.
…..and now WW1 wind reported at 135° speed 3 knots and at committee boat 185° 5 knots…reports suggest the TV planes have been scrambled now so confidence that this race will happen is growing… average delta over the seven 32nd America’s Cup Match races in 2007 works out at 23.7 seconds, the expectation is the margin in Race 1 could be in minutes.
The current new position for mark 1 is 39°31´0780 N 00°01´4380 so the mark has been moved NE slightly. Wind is 230 degrees at 5 kts at the Committee Boat and 200 degrees and 6 knots at the mark. Alinghi have not lost an America’s Cup race since 26 June 2007 when they were beaten by 25 seconds by Emirates Team New Zealand. Overall aggregate record over 2003 and 2007 Cup is 10-2.
So the postponement is signalled on cue. SI 5.7 states After a long postponement, to alert boats that a race will begin soon, the Race Committee will advise both boats by safety radio approximately 15 minutes before a Warning Signal is displayed. Mark 1 is being moved.
And that shift is increasing now offshore where the committee boat is, wind is 270 degrees and 6 knots….looking better all the time in terms of the forecast. The teams both looked to be really up for it when they left the dock this morning, certainly no one looking like it was a dress rehearsal. So as the breeze gets round to where it is expected, tensions will start to rise few notches on board. Of course there is a huge wealth of Cup racing experience on board both boats. The balance of actual America’s Cup match experience is with Alinghi. Ooops, the breeze is back to 300 degrees at the committee boat, which is still about 8 miles offshore.
So the breeze is backing – anticlockwise, to the left – now at 315° at 6 knots at the windward mark position and at the committee boat it is 300° 6 knots, positions of the boat and buoy still as before.
From the committee boat…..wind direction and speed at WW mark: 340° 7 knots and at committee boat: 335° 6 knots, so we will be waiting for the forecast southerly which some forecasts have arriving early to mid afternoon. Reports from the wave buoys this morning seem to confirm that swell should not be a problem, at 1.3m early this morning on the buoy 20 miles offshore and 0.8m on the buoy just off the port. And that has been confirmed by images coming in from the start area, cold and clear with a fairly gentle swell. The question may be whether the heating on land will ultimately help or mess up the new breeze.
Clarification of the course set up….they appear to be setting up for the predicted wind shift with the committee boat at 39°50´0000 N | 0°07´0000 E and a windward mark due south of them, but wind is still in the NNW at around 10 knots, so we will be waiting for a while perhaps.
So wind is reported to be at about 350 deg blowing around 10 knots at mark 1 (ww mark) rising to around 12 knots at times. Actual position of the mark is 39°29´8440 N | 0°07´5437 E. WW1 mark then would be off Valencia but about 20 miles offshore bearing at 180 deg from the start. “Hopefully we can get a race off today,” said team BMW ORACLE Racing CEO Russell Coutts. “It’s quite a complicated weather forecast but hopefully there will be a window in there where we get some breeze. We’d love to get a race going.” Brad Butterworth, Alinghi team skipper and tactician “Hopefully there will be good conditions out there. I think it’s lightening off. The big breeze is going away. I think if we go to a good spot we’ll get good conditions and we’ll be able to have a good race that’ll suit both boats.” “It’s a bit frustrating for all of us being postponed, I want to get out there and race and see how fast these boats are. Today looks like a good day.”

Last edited by Happy Hotelier on February 12, 2010 at 4:11 pm

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