Ben Ainslie and the crew of TEAMORIGIN have won the 1851 Cup in Cowes.
On this the fourth day of racing, both teams appeared to have their aggression glands fully open going into today’s third race.
In the pre-start Ben Ainslie at the helm of TEAMORIGIN did a fine job shovelling James Spithill’s BMW ORACLE Racing crew well beyond the right side of the start box and the starboard tack layline back to the committee boat. As a result both boats were late for the start line, but it allowed TEAMORIGIN to cross ahead by one to two boat lengths.
Straight into the first beat and the two boats wasted no time in engaging in a tacking duel, with BMW ORACLE Racing behind and only managing to shake TEAMORIGIN’s cover by successfully pulling off a dummy tack. This saw the American team heading off to the left and the British to the right. However the right side benefitted TEAMORIGIN which further up the beat crossing ahead of BMW ORACLE Racing to take the left. Heading into the weather mark on the port layline they rounded 18 seconds ahead.
The British boat’s lead was enough for them to be out of reach of the Americans on the run, although with the wind rising, a significant ebb tide now flowing across the course and a giant container ship bearing down on them, there was caution all around.
TEAMORIGIN rounded the leeward gate safely and the two boats engaged in a tacking duel up the second beat that saw BMW ORACLE Racing close on them. However rounding the top mark for the final time in the strong wind TEAMORIGIN set their spinnaker successfully but seconds later when BMW ORACLE Racing tried this same manoeuvre they didn’t manage to get the halyard fully up and when the spinnaker set its foot dropped into the water pulling the sail down with it and causing them to sail over it.
Following this disaster for the American team it was game over and Ben Ainslie and the TEAMORIGIN crew cruised to victory both in the race, also winning them the 1851 Cup with a 10-4 score.
RACE 7 — BMW ORACLE Racing wins:
BMW ORACLE Racing has tied The 1851 Cup at 4 points by winning Race 7 over TEAMORIGIN. The British crew had a nice pre-start, nearly stuffing BMW ORACLE Racing into the “coffin corner,” the lower left part of the start box outside the layline to the pin end. But both crews were early for the line and when BMW ORACLE Racing luffed up from leeward, they were able to get back within the pin end lay. The two crews took a split tack start onto the racecourse, BMW ORACLE on starboard at the pin end and TEAMORIGIN port about mid-line.
On the racecourse BMW ORACLE Racing held starboard for about 1 minute before tacking to port, while TEAMORIGIN held starboard for about 2 minutes before coming over to starboard. BMW ORACLE Racing won the first meeting of the yachts when it took port across the bow of TEAMORIGIN in a slim cross. BMW ORACLE controlled the match up the beat protecting the starboard advantage, which it would need at the top of the leg.
The two crews were nearly bow-to-bow at the windward mark, with BMW ORACLE Racing coming in on starboard. TEAMORIGIN has shown a lot of aggression in the series with regards to the rules, and the British tried to duck inside between BMW ORACLE and the mark. They then tried to get a penalty on the American crew for shutting them out, but the on-water umpires green-flagged the incident. The British crew didn’t agree with the call and vociferously objected to the umpires’ decision with strong language. The umps then penalized TEAMORIGIN for “dissent.”
From there BMW ORACLE Racing maintained its lead around the course to tie the series on points. TEAMORIGIN still leads on the water 4-2, but with wins today worth 3 points the two teams are tied with 4 points.
The warning signal for Race 8 is scheduled for 1110 hours, with a start slated for 1120 hours.
RACE 8 — TEAMORIGIN Wins
TEAMORIGIN regained the lead in The 1851 Cup against BMW ORACLE Racing by winning Race 8 when the American yacht was saddled with a penalty. After trailing by 7 seconds at the windward mark, BMW ORACLE Racing was penalized on the first run when it didn’t keep clear of the leeward TEAMORIGIN while overtaking to windward. BMW ORACLE eventually sailed over the top and led at the leeward gate by 12 seconds. The American yacht extended that lead to 18 seconds at the second windward mark.
On the run to the finish BMW ORACLE Racing slowed the match down and eventually luffed TEAMORIGIN, both teams lowering their spinnakers. Both crews were luffing head to wind, but BMW ORACLE Racing never got its 270-degree penalty turn completed before TEAMORIGIN broke free from the engagement.
TEAMORIGIN earned 3 points for the win and now leads the standings 7-4. The next race is also worth 3 points. If BMW ORACLE Racing can win and tie the score, the two crews would sail Race 3 left over from Tuesday when 22-knot winds forced the cancellation of racing. That race would be worth 1 point and the winner would win The 1851 Cup.
The warning for Race 9 is scheduled at 1220 hours, and the start at 1230 hours.
RACE 9 — TEAMORIGIN Wins
TEAMORIGIN won Race 9 of The 1851 Cup and now leads the series against BMW ORACLE Racing by 6 points. The British crew dominated the pre-start of the race, holding BMW ORACLE Racing outside the committee boat end of the line at the start gun. TEAMORIGIN calmly held the match almost head to wind before crossing the start line almost 55 seconds late. BMW ORACLE Racing crossed the line about two boat lengths in arrears.
The British then controlled the match around the first lap. At the top of the second windward leg BMW ORACLE Racing narrowed its deficit to about one boat length, but then mishandled the spinnaker set. The chute went over the bow and TEAMORIGIN sailed away while the American crew regrouped, but the fight was over on the short course that was about than 5 nautical miles in length. TEAMORIGIN won the match by 24 seconds.
BMW ORACLE Racing 0-0-0-1-3-0-0 – 4
TEAMORIGIN 1-1-1-1-0-0-3-3 – 10
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