There were perfect conditions for racing on Monday, strong southwest winds whipped up a froth of whitecaps on the bay, and allowed the crews to put on a fantastic display of match racing for the thousands of spectators afloat and ashore.
In the first match of the day, BMW ORACLE Racing won its third consecutive race, to jump into the lead in the UBS Trophy. But the real excitement came in the second match when a flurry of action near the top mark left both boats penalised, a crew-member in the water, two shredded spinnakers, and several thousand thrilled spectators.
With the second match this afternoon worth two points, BMW ORACLE Racing leaps into the lead with a 5 to 2 points advantage in the UBS Trophy. Racing in the Pro-Driver series continues on Tuesday afternoon.
UBS TROPHY - Pro-Driver Series - Race Five of 12
BMW ORACLE RACING beat ALINGHI - Delta 0:35
BMW ORACLE RACING LEADS THE PRO-DRIVER SERIES 3 POINTS TO 2
With its third consecutive race win, the BMW ORACLE Racing team jumped into the lead at the UBS Trophy for the first time. Helmsman Gavin BRADY again looked strong in the pre-start, and tactician John KOSTECKI took advantage of the narrow race-course to obtain a controlling position.
In the pre-start, Alinghi helmsman Peter HOLMBERG allowed Brady to avoid a dial-up and the boats immediately started a series of tight circles, each looking to hook in behind the other and gain the advantage.
When the boats eventually broke for the starting line, they appeared to be dead even, Alinghi on the right, and BMW ORACLE tucked close on the left, tight to leeward. The boats raced on starboard tack towards the shoreline, and Alinghi was forced to allow BMW ORACLE room. Both boats tacked simultaneously, and Brady was able to gently nose ahead, inching forward, and eventually gaining enough to blanket Holmberg. Alinghi fought hard to escape, but wasn't able to break coverage until the damage had been done. BMW ORACLE went on to lead by 22-seconds around the first mark.
The boats surfed down the leeward leg in the strong breeze, but Alinghi wasn't able to make a significant gain. BMW ORACLE held its advantage around the rest of the track taking the winning gun by a 35-second margin.
UBS TROPHY - Pro-Driver Series - Race Six of 12
BMW ORACLE RACING beats ALINGHI - Delta 0:48
BMW ORACLE RACING LEADS THE PRO-DRIVER SERIES 5 POINTS TO 2
This was the first two-point race of the UBS Trophy, and the BMW ORACLE Racing team certainly earned the extra reward. This match was very close through the first leg, until a stunning sequence of action near the first windward mark allowed the American team to extend away from Alinghi.
The pre-start sequence was very aggressive in the heavy conditions with the boats dialling up extremely close, before breaking off in a series of circles. Alinghi's Peter HOLMBERG appeared much stronger in this start, forcing BMW ORACLE's Gavin BRADY to tack away for the right side before the start gun fired, and the boats split off at the start.
Brady found a nice little shift early off the start line and held a tiny advantage as the boats converged, and using his starboard tack advantage, he kept forcing Holmberg back towards the shore. The boats split and converged a dozen times up the first leg, but neither boat could get clear ahead. Approaching the top mark, Brady luffed up, and held Holmberg out from rounding the mark for several seconds before breaking off to round the first mark with a narrow seven-second lead.
But the spinnaker hoist went wrong on BMW ORACLE and the sail shredded as it went up, allowing an opportunity for Alinghi. The Swiss boat executed a clean hoist and looked to be in a strong position, but Brady, without a spinnaker, aggressively luffed towards Holmberg, who couldn't respond quickly enough. The boats came very close, and the Umpires assessed Alinghi a penalty for not keeping clear.
But in all the action, Brad WEBB, the bowman on BMW ORACLE, fell overboard. He was picked up by a support boat and returned to the racing yacht, but the Umpires assessed a penalty, cancelling the earlier Alinghi infraction. Responding to the aggressive luff in the heavy conditions caused all sorts of problems to Alinghi's spinnaker and in the end, BMW ORACLE was able to hoist a new sail and get racing again more quickly than Alinghi did, stretching to a 30-second lead around the bottom mark.
BMW ORACLE held on the rest of the way, winning by 48-seconds and earning a two-point victory.