U.S. challenger BMW Oracle, financed primarily with the software fortune of Oracle CEO Larry Ellison, won the 33rd running of the America's Cup sailing regatta, bringing the storied yachting trophy back to the United States for the first time since 1992. BMW Oracle's speedy trimaran, built with carbon fibers and Kevlar, beat the reigning Swiss championship team Alinghi to win the best of three racing series 2-0.
challengers BMW Oracle won the 33rd America's
Cup on Sunday, beating Swiss holders Alinghi in the second race to claim the
best-of-three series 2-0 in a triumph of superior design and technology.
Software mogul Larry Ellison's giant trimaran, featuring a towering
wing-shaped sail, beat Alinghi by more than five minutes in the second race,
leaving the Swiss boat in its wake after snatching the lead at the first mark.
Ellison, an accomplished ocean racer who had never made it to an America's
Cup match before, steered his space-age boat back to the Spanish port
of Valencia as night fell, hugging
and congratulating his crew members.
"I'm enormously proud of this team," said after raising the old
silver trophy aloft, shouting "Valencia
"It's a fabulous experience," the self-made billionaire said.
Ellison's BMW Oracle team was beaten by Alinghi, backed by banking and
biotechnology billionaire Ernesto Bertarelli, in the final of the 2003
challengers series for the America's Cup, which the Swiss went on to win from
holders New Zealand.
The 2010 event came after more than two years of often bitter legal wrangles
between Ellison and Bertarelli over the America's
Cup rules, battles which sometimes spilled over into sniping between two of the
world's richest men.
Bertarelli urged Ellison to drop a law suit, to be heard in New
York on February 25, over the origins of the sails on
his boat, one in a long line of complaints between them which led to the
best-of-three showdown without the usual challengers series.
Ellison said there would be "a level playing field" at the next America's
Cup. The date and venue have not been decided yet, he said, but added he had
already received notification of a "Challenger of Record" -a main
challenger with whom the holders will organize the next regatta.
Asked to comment on reports Italian shipping magnate Vincenzo Onorato had
told media he would be the challenger of record, Ellison said: "Vincenzo
Onorato's a close friend of ours and I've never known him to be untruthful
Onorato's Mascalzone Latino team competed in the 2003 and 2007 challengers
series for the America's
An American team had not won sailing's oldest and most prestigious prize since
Bill Koch's America3 beat Italians Il Moro de Venezia in 1992.
"I'm exceptionally proud to bring the America's
Cup back to the United States
after a very long absence," Ellison said.
It was a convincing victory for Ellison's boat, a unique trimaran featuring
a revolutionary wing-shaped mast and mainsail configuration the height of a
The carbon fiber and kevlar American boat hit speeds of up to 33 knots,
incredibly more than four times the speed of the wind, as it surged away to lead
by more than 2,100 meters.
Alinghi, with Bertarelli at the helm, finished 5 mins 26 seconds behind
after a miserable race. The Americans won Friday's first race equally easily.
Cup was about speed," Bertarelli told reporters. "Congratulations to
the BMW Oracle team, their boat was faster, no question."
Bertarelli's team made an error in pre-start maneuvers -their second in
the two races -incurring
a penalty turn which had to be executed before they could finish.
The Swiss catamaran made up good ground to lead on the first leg of the
39-nautical mile race but were then blown off the water by BMW Oracle's
superior speed. "You could see there was a bit of a difference between the
boats and that's yacht racing," Alinghi tactician Brad Butterworth said.
Alinghi had flown a protest flag during the race but later decided to
withdraw their complaint.
(By Paul Tait; Editing by Iain Rogers)??Â« Thomson Reuters 2010. All rights reserved. Users may download and print
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