In May, the team launches into race mode with an extensive three-regatta programme: the ISAF Grade 1 Toscana Elba Cup in Porto Azzuro, Italy from 1-8 May; the ISAF Grade 1 Match Race Germany in Langenargen from 11-16 May and; the ISAF Grade 1 ACI Cup in Split, Croatia from 22-28 May.
As ISAF Grade 1 events it comes as no surprise that the entry lists for these events look like an America's Cup and ISAF World Match Race Rankings 'Who's Who'.
BMW ORACLE Racing will contest the May events with two different crews. In the Elba event, helmsman Gavin BRADY (NZL) and the crew Dirk DE RIDDER (NED), Sean CLARKSON (AUS), Robbie NAISMITH (NZL) and Brad WEBB (NZL) will face an all-star fleet of competitors.
'For me, the Toscana Elba Cup represents the first regatta of the year,' said BRADY. 'The event provides us with a great opportunity to compete against some of the best match racers in the world. This will continue to push us to a higher level. With six Louis Vuitton Acts in 2005, we are keen to race every chance we can.'
At Langenargen, located at Lake Constance, and Split, the BMW ORACLE Racing colours will be represented by helmsman Bertrand PACÉ (FRA) and the crew WEBB, DE RIDDER, Eric DOYLE (USA) and Zach HURST (NZL). The French helmsman has to defend top positions in both events: last year, PACÉ won in Croatia and finished second in Germany.
'Quite obviously, I'd love to repeat these successes,' said the BMW ORACLE Racing helmsman. 'But it will be just as crucial to continue to improve our team work and our race tactics, at these extremely competitive regattas.'