It was a challenging day at the UBS Trophy on Sunday as unstable wind conditions early in the day meant the tacticians were the most important men on the water, especially in the first race.
BMW ORACLE figured out the shifts better, and sailed to a quick victory on a short race course.
In the second match, an ever increasing sea breeze built throughout the contest, and the teams battled in a strong wind, under a brilliant blue sky for this race, the downwind runs spectacular with the boats being pulled along at over 12-knots by their massive spinnakers. Again, BMW ORACLE sailed a strong race, and evened the series with its second win on the day.
Narragansett Bay was a spectacular venue on Sunday, and the waters were filled with hundreds of spectator craft enjoying America's Cup Class racing at Newport.
UBS TROPHY - Pro-Driver Series - Race Three of 12
BMW ORACLE RACING beats ALINGHI - Delta 1:46
This match was a real challenge for the crews, particularly for the tacticians, as massive wind shifts made for a constantly evolving battlefield. A building sea breeze was fighting to establish itself against a weak gradient wind, and the wind kept changing in pressure and direction.
It appeared as though the teams were fighting for the left side of the race-course in the pre-start, as that was the direction the sea breeze would be expected to shift. Gavin BRADY on BMW ORACLE Racing avoided a dial-up by crossing in front of Peter HOLMBERG'S Alinghi, and leading him out to the right side of the start box. On the reach back to the line, Holmberg was able to grab the favoured left position, but it came at too big a cost. With both boats luffing head to wind, Brady was able to break off to the right first, and quickly build speed, while Alinghi floundered in the light conditions, eventually crossing the starting line a full 15 seconds after BMW ORACLE.
American tactician John KOSTECKI then made a gutsy decision on the first beat, taking his BMW ORACLE boat to the far left side, out to the port tack layline, which allowed Alinghi to split to the middle of the race course. At one point the boats were separated by nearly 700 metres, on a 1.2 nautical mile course. For several moments, it appeared as if Kostecki had made a fatal mistake, as Alinghi suddenly found pressure in the middle and stormed towards the mark. But a couple of minutes later, he looked like a genius, when the expected left shift came good, and the sea breeze built on his side of the race course, allowing BMW ORACLE to carry an 18-second lead around the top mark.
With a container ship barrelling through the bottom of the race-course, and the race committee restricted from realigning the course by a lack of space, the course was shortened to just one lap, and BMW ORACLE stormed home to tally its first victory of the UBS Trophy.
UBS TROPHY - Pro-Driver Series - Race Four of 12
BMW ORACLE RACING beats ALINGHI - Delta 0:31
This match was won at the start, when Gavin BRADY of BMW ORACLE did a brilliant job to get the better of his counterpart Peter HOLMBERG on Alinghi. The boats engaged in the traditional dial-up, but Brady bailed out first, gybing around and following Alinghi out to the right side of the start box.
When the boats turned back for the start line, it was Holmberg on Alinghi who was behind and pushing, but Brady maintained enough room, and hit the starting line with speed as the gun fired, slightly to leeward, but tight to Alinghi, forcing Holmberg to tack for clear air.
Brady protected the left hand side of the first beat to windward, and slowly opened up a comfortable lead, rounding the windward mark 29-seconds to the good.
Although Alinghi made its best efforts to stay close, and closed at times on the runs, BMW ORACLE was never seriously threatened, and Brady was able to earn the win and even the Pro-Driver series.