The thrill of America's Cup class yacht racing is back in Valencia, with the Cup Defender, Alinghi and TEAMORIGIN on equal points and leading the fleet after the first two races of the Trofeo Desafío Español.
Both Swiss and British teams provided some great racing and a spectacular show fighting for the lead. The cruiser-racer class starts racing for the Trofeo Desafío Español on Saturday and a record 87 boats have entered.
On board Desafío Español, Laureano WIZNER (ESP) was at the helm, while on Alinghi, TEAMORIGIN and Luna Rossa; Murray JONES
(NZL), Ben AINSLIE
(GBR) and Peter HOLMBERG
(ISV) were steering respectively.
The newcomers in the class, TEAMORIGIN, surprised everybody in the first race. The British team, helmed by triple Olympic gold medallist AINSLIE, beat Luna Rossa by 44 seconds and Alinghi just astern of the Italians.
"What a nice start for TEAMORIGIN: to win our first ever 'Cup' race is pretty special. That said, the highlight for me was the team spirit onboard, a really special atmosphere and energy throughout the whole boat. Long may it continue!"
said Mike SANDERSON (NZL), team director.
The Swiss defender ripped three spinnakers through the gybes in race one, but lead the Spanish team home; the local team suffered from choosing the wrong side of the course off the line.
"It was a combination of things; like everything you need time practicing. It was probably something to do with the rate of turn with me steering the boat and the timing of when you let the sheet go and bring in the other one. We need to work on it; we'll have a look at the videos tonight and figure out where we went wrong",
explained JONES about the spinnakers problem. And added: "The boat was going nicely especially in the second race when the breeze picked up a little bit".
In the second race, the Swiss sailed well and won with style one minute ahead of Desafío Español and with a healthy margin on TEAMORIGIN and Luna Rossa.
On Saturday, counting the crew members on board the America's Cup Class yachts and the teams sailing in the cruiser-racer fleet, there will be almost 1,000 sailors racing in Valencia!
Starting time: 14:50
1. TEAMORIGIN: 16:02:52
2. Luna Rossa: 16:03:36 (+44)
3. Alinghi: 16:03:46 (+54)
4. Desafío Español: 16:04:07 (+75)
Starting time: 16:25
1. Alinghi: 17.19.24
2. Desafío Español: 17:20:23 (+59)
3. TEAMORIGIN: 17:21:45 (+2.21)
4. Luna Rossa: 17:22:13 (+2.49)
(After two races)
1. Alinghi, 4 pts
2. TEAMORIGIN, 4 pts
3. Desafío Español, 6 pts
4. Luna Rossa, 6 pts