The Oracle BMW Racing crew gave skipper Chris Dickson a fantastic birthday present on Sunday, winning both races, and leapfrogging up the leaderboard to finish Round Robin Two in second place.
Racing was postponed in the morning to allow the Southerly breeze to settle and fill in, and the conditions were perfect for racing in the afternoon. Dickson celebrated his birthday under sunny skies and with strong 14-20 knot Southerlies to power his boat around the race course.
With the conclusion of Round Robin Two, the Louis Vuitton Cup moves to the Quarter-Final stage of the regatta. Alinghi, the leader of the four boat 'double-chance' group has the honour of choosing its opponent, and will announce its choice on Monday at a press conference at its base.
Similarly, Sweden's Victory Challenge, the leader of the four boat 'single-chance' group will likely announce its choice of opponent in the single-chance group on Sunday evening.
All teams now have a week off, until racing resumes on Tuesday, 12th November.
There will be a pre-round press conference on Monday, 11th November, at 0900, including a draw to determine the favoured starboard tack entry for each pairing in the first race. There will be a press breakfast beginning at 08:15.
Louis Vuitton Cup Round Robin Two, Race Day Eight
USA-76 Beat Le Défi (FRA-69) - Delta 01:07
Peter Holmberg, steering Oracle BMW entered the start box from the pin end on port tack were able to pass ahead of Le Défi and dominate the pre-start, crossing the start line ahead of the French and with better boat speed. Le Défi, with Luc Pillot at the helm, tacked onto port tack after the start and Chris Dickson called for USA-76 to tack immediately to cover. Both boats sailed a long leg to the starboard lay line. The American boat was able to slowly extend its lead with a combination of slightly better height and speed, with Le Défi content to make it a two tack beat. USA-76 rounded the first mark 46 seconds ahead. Holmberg shared the helm with Chris Dickson and they were able to extend their lead ahead of the yellow boat downwind. The southerly wind increased on the second beat to 17 knots and Le Défi's relative boat speed improved with the French boat only losing four seconds over the three mile beat. But nothing the French did could taint Dickson's first birthday present of the day.
USA-76 Beat Orm (SWE-73) - Delta 00:43
An aggressive and exciting pre-start saw Jesper Bank at the helm of Orm take the initiative and put USA-76 under pressure on the course side of the start line. Peter Holmberg at the helm of the American held a lane to windward of the Swedes in a thrilling final approach to the start line, close to the Race Committee boat. Both boats crossed the line at exactly the same moment with Oracle just in control on the right hand side. Bank may have missed his only chance to close Oracle out of the race by failing to shut the door on the black boat at the committee boat when he had the chance. Orm tacked off after 30-seconds and Oracle tacked to cover immediately, slowly extending its lead with slightly better height and speed, in a long tack towards the starboard layline. Oracle BMW Racing covered Orm's efforts to find a passing lane as the pair approached the windward mark and rounded 43 seconds ahead. USA-76 looked to be heading for a comfortable win until the crew hoisted its spinnaker for the final leg and the spinnaker pole broke in dramatic style, with the boat close to broaching in the 20-knot winds. Orm rounded 250 metres behind and seeing the trouble on USA-76 gybed off to gain separation and seek a passing lane. Skipper Chris Dickson, now at the helm of the American boat kept the boat under the spinnaker whilst the foredeck team placed a pre-made splint over the broken pole and getting it back in the air in less than four minutes. Dickson and his team actually extended on the last leg to move to second overall in the challenger standings.