America’s Cup


photo Pedro Armestre/AFP/33rd America's Cup

BMW ORACLE Racing Team’s revolutionary wing sail powered trimaran USA convincingly won Race 2 off Valencia today to win the 33rd America’s Cup match outright.

The American team, founded ten years ago by software mogul Larry Ellison, achieved its ultimate goal when they powered across the finish line of Race 2 with a margin of 5 minutes and 26 seconds to defeat the Swiss Defender’s Alinghi 2-0.

Ellison sailed on board USA today, his first America’s Cup Match race proving a winning one.

BMW ORACLE Racing become the first American team to win the America’s Cup since 1992 when America3 defeated Il Moro de Venezia off San Diego.

San Francisco’s Golden Gate Yacht Club become the 28th American Defender of the America’s Cup.

Russell Coutts, CEO of BMW ORACLE Racing, has now won the America’s Cup four times, twice with his native New Zealand, once at the helm of the Swiss Alinghi team and now masterminding the success of Ellison’s American team.

In the evening twilight the giant black and white trimaran USA speared across the finish line off Valencia, a long way ahead of the Swiss team who first won the America’s Cup in New Zealand in 2000 and then successfully defended it against Emirates Team New Zealand in July 2007.

After a delay of over six hours waiting for the SE’ly wind to settle, Race 2 of the best of three series was contested in around 6-9 knots of breeze.

The showdown immediately unfolded in dramatic fashion when Alinghi were penalised for an error in the start box, the second successive penalty during the Pre-Start sequence. USA lead off the start line by 24 seconds but the Swiss team hooked into extra wind pressure on the right side of the course and a favourable 20 degrees shift in wind direction.

They profited progressively and at one stage were some 600 metres ahead of the BMW ORACLE Racing Team’s trimaran.

Unlike Friday’s whitewash, when USA sailed steadily away from Alinghi 5, the windward leg was nailbiting right until the American trimaran was able to round the first mark with a small lead.

On the approach to the windward mark of the 39 miles triangle shaped course, USA came back when they were able to squeeze inside the line of Alinghi, to turn 28 seconds ahead. Surging to 30 knots at times on the first of two 13 miles reaches, the powerful trimaran with its 223ft high solid wing sail rig was able to gain 2 minutes and 16 seconds by the second turning mark, the gybe, going on to win by 5 minutes and 26 seconds.

Valentine’s Day sees bright sunshine and light winds this morning around the Marina Real Juan Carlos 1, the beating heart of the 33rd America’s Cup.
The forecast looks fairly promising for Race 2 which is due to start around midday, although the race committee do plan to wait until the forecasted SE’ly breeze arrives and won’t be hurried. In many respects it is a similar situation to Friday Race 1 where the offshore breeze is due to give way a breeze from the southerly quadrant.

Alinghi 5 docked out first with Swiss timing at 0900hrs to their signature Red Hot Chili Peppers ‘Can’t Stop’. If this proves to be their last day as America’s Cup holders, team president Ernesto Bertarelli (SUI) wore a huge smile and looked relaxed as he stepped on board. They have the advantage of entry with right of way on starboard tack today and may try for revenge in the start box, and aim to pin a penalty of USA.

BMW ORACLE Racing’s USA crew looked equally relaxed and focussed. They left their base knowing they can make sailing history today. The triangle course is more of a challenge in terms of manoeuvres, boat handling and sailing on the tight reaches. But, once more we are heading into unknown territory. Some say Alinghi will be stronger around the reaching course, but others simply point to the extra righting moment of USA and the power to drag ratio of their wing weapon.

It could be a red letter day for Russell Coutts (NZL) the CEO of BMW ORACLE Racing. In 1995 he skippered Black Magic to win the America’s Cup for New Zealand 5-0 against Dennis Conner’s Young America Team and in 1993 he skippered Alinghi to win the America’s Cup 5-0 for Switzerland. In

Race officer Harold Bennett (NZL) said this morning:

“ We are going out for looking to midday but I am not sure we will see the breeze by then, and we have to wait for this offshore breeze to die away and for the wind to turn into the SE, it is going to be in that quadrant, southerly or SE. So we have to wait and see until it develops.”

Provisional Deltas Race 2: Start Mark 1 Mark 2 Final
BMW ORACLE Racing 0:24 0:28 2:44 5:26

Race 1 scheduled again for Friday, 33rd America's Cup

Friday should see a third attempt to get Race 1 of the 33rd America’s Cup away. The prospect of a window of suitable weather to allow the windward-leeward course comprising two 20-miles legs is anticipated tomorrow although Valencia has been subjected to some brisk, chilly northerly winds through today Thursday.

A postponement was signalled in the early evening which means no start sequence will be before 1154hrs (LOCAL)

Even around the Marina Juan Carlos 1 the flags were stiffened by the wind through most of the day. The cool February breezes reached more than 30 knots at times.

Hopes are high that Race 1 will start tomorrow, but for all of the waiting that has already been part of what promises to be an historic 33rd America’s Cup match, neither the premium placed on patience nor the bracing temperatures have cooled the sense of anticipation, nor made any clearer what might happen when the two giant multihulls finally meet up.

photo Jose Jordan/33rd America's Cup

Debate ebbs and flows about every aspect of the Race 1, from the simple binary answer – who will win, right through to the detail of changes to the match racing rules to accommodate these giant speedsters.

The hiatus has allowed crew members from both the defender Alinghi (SUI) and the challenger BMW ORACLE Racing Team to drip feed technological information as well as their perception of how Race 1 might develop.

In an instructive media seminar Ed Baird (USA), helmsman when Alinghi won the America’s Cup in 2007 for the second time, said today that a close race in these multihulls might be one with somewhere between three or four minutes at the first mark, and such a margin could be easily won or lost on the downwind leg.

Factor in the fact that so much ground is lost in manoeuvres, that conventional covering (blanketing your opponent with the wind shadow from your sails) is not really possible, all-in-all a ‘whole new mentality’ he warned.
Baird in effect said that, downwind is the new upwind.

Downwind these giant multihulls are sailing so quick that the apparent wind they generate is only 5-6 degrees different to that when they are racing upwind.

Dirk De Ridder (NED) who is in charge of the trim of BMW ORACLE Racing Team’s huge 223 ft (68m) wing which took 150,00 man hours to build, explained some of the differences between his job with the solid foil and the equivalent soft sail. He controls the wing with a conventional traveller system which is lead to a winch, and a hydraulic systems powered by a small engine which controls the shape of the wing. The two element wing is comparatively straightforward, he explained, with nine hinges between the main wing element and the aft flap.

The construction of the wing itself is especially high tech, but De Ridder revealed that his controlling key pad system is nothing more or less than an ‘idiot proof’ off-the-shelf garage door remote operating system.

Sir Richard Branson, the British entrepreneur who last year made an attempt at the Transatlantic Record was a visitor to the America’s Cup site, touring the Alinghi base, meeting up with Mike Sanderson CEO of Britain’s TeamOrigin America’s Cup syndicate.



photo Gilles Martin-Raget

It was the lumpy, contrary swell left over from last night’s strong northerly winds which led to the postponement of Race 1 of the 33rd America’s Cup today, the second time that racing has been adversely affected by an unsettled weather or sea situation off Valencia.

The first match of the regatta is now scheduled for Friday 12th February with a start sequence pencilled for 1000hrs.
An initial postponement period, signalled last night (Tuesday), extended through this morning with the giant catamaran Alinghi 5 of the Swiss team Alinghi, the holders of the America’s Cup, and the trimaran USA, of the challenger, the American BMW ORACLE Racing Team, both remaining in their respective dock areas.

But at midday the signal flags were were raised over Port America’s Cup’s Varadero building to signal that racing is now held over until Friday.

The swell was estimated at an average of 1.3 metres by one of the competitors’ weather teams. Race officer Harold Bennett (NZL) described the sea state as ‘pretty rugged’.

Both teams, Alinghi and BMW ORACLE Racing, respected the decision taken although BMW ORACLE Racing’s skipper-helm James Spithill (AUS) later reported to a media conference that their crew were keen to go have gone racing in the morning conditions.

French solo round the world racer and multihull specialist Loick Peyron agreed with the decision not to race, saying that the huge multihulls are designed as the Formula 1 racers and should ‘not be rallying the Paris-Dakar’.

Bennett, who is officiating at his third America’s Cup, met the media during the afternoon and gave further information about the difficulty of the task that he and the Race Committee crew face. In previous America's Cup races he was responsible for setting a course of a 3 miles upwind-downwind legs. Here he has over 400 square miles of sea area to cover.

He cautioned, again, that patience will be required before acceptable conditions emerge to allow the first windward-leeward course of two 20 miles legs to be run.



photo Luca Butto' / Alinghi

Race 1 of the 33rd America’s Cup remains on hold after the breezes off Valencia refused to cooperate to allow the scheduled first showdown between the two giant multihulls Alinghi 5 and USA to take place Monday.

Race officer Harold Bennett (NZL) and the race committee team made considerable efforts to locate a wind which was settled enough and of sufficiently even strength across the proposed 20 miles first leg, but they proved fruitless.

An offshore breeze at times looked promising but it never quite mustered enough strength to spread out to sea to reach the start area. But the difference in the direction of that breeze and the direction of the very gentle air in which the Race Committee sat was considered too great for a fair race.

It proved a frustrating day for all on the waters off Valencia, despite tantalising glimpses of the fantastic technology which promises so much. Everything was in place and operating well for the planned 1000hrs countdown to the historic match up. Live TV streaming from the race course on the internet, for the first time in the America’s Cup, complemented by Virtual Eye 3-D imaging worked well. But the postponement was signalled at 0955hrs this morning.

The different winds ranged between 2 knots and 13 knots, and at times there was 100 degrees of variance between the mean wind direction at the committee boat and the wind direction at the proposed turning buoy. At best there was around 40 degrees of difference.

For the prescribed 20 miles upwind leg the Race Committee need a strong measure of confidence that there will not be a significant wind shift after the start to ensure a fair race.

The adversaries had left their respective bases to huge acclaim in the early morning, between 6.30am and 07.00 am. A Hollywood style production for the BMW ORACLE Racing team sent pulses racing as the Challenger team set off into the very early darkness, while soundtrack to the Defender, Alinghi 5’s departure was fervent alpine cowbells and loud airhorns.

Returning after the postponement both multihulls were making around 15knots in just 5 knots in wind.

Race 1 is now rescheduled for Wednesday 10th with the time gun due at 1000hrs.

Ashore in the America’s Cup Park more than 1000 kids of between three and 10 years old, from ten different local Valencia schools visited to be greeted by King Neptune.

Tomorrow (Tuesday) the America’s Cup Park opens between 1000hrs and 1800hrs.

Harold Bennett (NZL) Principal Race Officer:
“It is disappointing of course to get started though the conditions that we expected when we went out this morning just did not eventualise. We sat with next to no wind were we were. It is a real shame.”
“We had no problems from the teams with the decision. I speak to the weather teams from both teams throughout, and with the sailors before we made the decision. They were happy that the decision was the right one.”
“And since we took it there have been no changes that suggest to me that there was any other option.”
“I always knew it was going to be like this.”
“But that’s the game we are in. We have to wait for the next one.”

Ernesto Bertarelli (SUI), president and helmsman Alinghi (SUI):
“It was the first time we set out at night to go to the race zone. That lasted two hours it was very special. I was confident we would go racing but from 10am that meteorologists started to say that the chances were reducing. The wind was expected to drop certainly because of the rain which prevented any thermal wind activity. But it was good to have the two boats alongside each other.”

Matteo Plazzi (ITA) navigator BMW ORACLE Racing (USA):
“We thought that in the morning it would be light and it would be difficult to race, but we thought there would be a good chance to race in the afternoon.”
“I don’t think anybody thought we should have raced.”
“The weather was complicated for a system of winds that was going through. There were several cells of low pressure developing over the race course area, and so over the 20 miles there was a 100 degree difference from side to side.”
“It would have been impossible to have an upwind leg.”
“It was a good call. Racing today would have been a gamble, and you don’t want to gamble when there are only two points to win or lose.”

Jack Katzfey (AUS/USA), meteo specialist, Alinghi (SUI):
“Our forecasts gave from six to nine knotsof wind today but finally the wind was too weak to race. The race committee was right not to start the race. There were two knots on the start line. That is really too little for that the wind to be stable. With five knots you have definitely more chances to have a more regular flow. ”

Chris Bedford (USA) meteo specialist, BMW ORACLE Racing (USA):
“We had a southerly breeze well offshore that was occasionally filtering into the start area,”
“But closer to shore we had a westerly breeze for most of the afternoon. At times it was showing up to 14 knots at the top mark.
“So there was pressure (wind) trying to make it onto the course, but because of these two winds converging, we never had enough breeze over a 20-mile leg to get going… I think the Race Committee did a good job today.”

33rd America’s Cup, For the first time, Racing will be broadcast Live on the internet


The Société Nautique du Genève (SNG), trustee of the America’s Cup, has delegated the responsibility for organising the media and event activities for the 33rd America’s Cup to Consorcio Valencia 2007. The 33rd America’s Cup promises to be a regatta unlike everything which has been seen so far.

The two fastest boats in history will fight for the America’s Cup over race courses that are up to six times bigger than the ones used in the 32nd America’s Cup. For this reason, the TV coverage of the racing will be key. For the first time in history, the races will be broadcast live and free of charge through to reach the biggest, widest possible audience, including all the fans who will not be able to be in Valencia to witness live this historic competition

The on-shore action will be concentrated at the Veles e Vents, the landmark building central to Port America’s Cup. A giant screen will be installed for fans and spectators to follow the races live as well as enjoying a host of complementary activities around the Port area. The International media centre with capacity for 150 journalists will be in close proximity to the Veles e Vents.

Jorge Gisbert, General Director of Consorcio Valencia 2007: « We are very grateful to have the event back at Port America’s Cup, in the short term we have available we will do our utmost to set the stage for an unforgettable event here in Valencia. »

To organise this event in a short time Gisbert has surrounded himself with an international team involved in the execution of the 32nd America’s Cup. This team led by Michel Hodara (SUI, 48) consists of seasoned professionals in the field of television, media, public entertainment and hospitality.

Questions and Answers:
Jorge Gisbert, General Director of Consorcio Valencia 2007
Consorcio Valencia 2007 was in charge of the infrastructure of the 32nd America’s Cup What does it mean for Consorcio to be now in charge of the organisation for the 33rd America’s Cup?
It’s a challenge. Thanks to our experience in the development of the Port we can give a fast and efficient answer to the technical requirements of an event like this. Also Michel Hodara and his team have joined to contribute with their experience. For three years we worked with him in the last edition of the Cup.

The 32nd America’s Cup was a success.
What can we expect from the 33rd?
Another success, that’s the only way we can see it. This America’s Cup is a totally different proposition and now we are responsible for the organisation and we have a very limited amount of time. We are going to push our creativity and work capacity to the maximum.
Valencia enjoys the legacy of the 32nd America’s Cup. What will be the legacy of the 33rd edition?
We are seeing now that the work to produce the 32nd America’s Cup was the right effort. The 33rd America’s Cup will be an opportunity to show the world that not only can we can organise a great international event, but that we can do it in a very short period of time.

Michel Hodara, Event Manager of the 33rd America’s Cup
What is it needed to organise an America’s Cup in such a short period of time?
It is necessary to have a team of professionals that are used to work together and who are ready to do it 24 hours a day. In addition to the staff of Consorcio Valencia 2007 I have surrounded myself with people that enjoy aiming for the ‘impossible’.

Will it be comparable to the 32nd America’s Cup?
The 32nd America’s Cup was a five star event, developed over the course of three years. The 33rd America’s Cup is not simply the second chapter of that story, is a totally different story, it will be more compact, more intimate, but just as exciting.

What will it be like as an experience, on the ground in Valencia?
We will welcome fans with an inauguration event on February 7th. And from the first race, scheduled for the 8th, they will be able to watch the races live on a giant screen, get official merchandising and enjoy a range of activities for kids, youngsters and families. Also, there will be food and beverage points with Swiss, American and, of course, Spanish food. We want to create a special atmosphere a great fan experience.

America's Cup Multihull Battle Set For February 2010

photo Guido Cantini/ACM

The 33rd America's Cup Match is set to be held in February 2010 following the latest ruling in the New York Courts.

After almost two years of uncertainty surrounding the 33rd Cup cycle, a recent flurry of court activity has gradually set out the parameters under which the so-called Deed of Gift match will take place. Today, the Challenger, the Golden Gate Yacht Club (represented on the water by the BMW Oracle Racing team), won another victory in the New York court rooms, with the judges ruling in their favour in the battle over the dates of the 33rd America’s Cup Match. Justice Shirley Werner KORNRAEICH in the Supreme Court of the State of New York, upheld the earlier decision of the New York Court of Appeals to stage the America's Cup in February 2010.


Société Nautique de Genève welcomes 33rd America's Cup Notice of Challenge from Italy

Geneva, Switzerland - (2009-05-11)

The Defender of the 33rd America's Cup, the Société Nautique de Genève (SNG), today received an official Notice of Challenge from the Circolo di Vela Gargnano (CVG) with a certificate for a 90x90foot vessel as per the Golden Gate / BMW Oracle challenge for the 33rd America's Cup.

SNG welcomes the Italian entry; CVG was a challenger in the 32nd America's Cup and is world renowned for its prestigious Centomiglia regatta. It has now challenged with a multihull as per the Golden Gate challenge.

SNG and Alinghi have always supported a multi-challenger event and continue to do so. At a meeting on 23 April, the Swiss Defender asked the American Challenger of Record to open the challenger selection series. SNG continues to encourage a 33rd America's Cup with multiple teams from different nations; however the decision to accept the Italian challenge in a multihull lies with the Golden Gate Yacht Club and BMW Oracle Racing.

Notice Of Challenge GreenComm (PDF)

Société Nautique de Genève statement

SNG member, America's Cup committee secretary & Fred Meyer, SNG vice-commodore and America's Cup committee chairman & Brad Butterwoth (SNG member, America's Cup committeee vice-chairman). photo Carlo Borlenghi/Alinghi

23 April 2009

At a meeting today(23) in Geneva, the America’s Cup defending yacht club, Société Nautique de Genève (SNG), confirmed that it accepts the Golden Gate Yacht Club’s (GGYC) challenge for the 33rd America’s Cup and informed representatives of the American yacht club that its team, Alinghi, will be ready to race their 90x90ft boat (as stated in the GGYC Notice of Challenge) in 2010.

SNG expressed its willingness for the challenger selection to be open to other teams and has encouraged GGYC to do so by offering them more time for teams to prepare if necessary. It was also stated that the SNG would be flexible and ready to discuss other terms of the 33rd America’s Cup such as race format, venue or calendar.

Alinghi, Press Release

Statement from Société Nautique de Genève

Valencia, Spain - (2009-04-02)

Statement from the Société Nautique de Genève, Defender of the 33rd America's Cup, regarding the New York Court of Appeals decision today:

“It has consistently been our view that the America's Cup should be fought on the water. Today through the American courts the Golden Gate Yacht Club has won the right to challenge the Société Nautique de Genève. We will now discuss the terms for the regatta with them and will prepare our defence of the 33rd America's Cup.”

33rd America's Cup competitors appoint additional Arbitration Panel members and Technical Director

5th Competitor Meeting at the Alinghi base in Valencia. photo by Alinghi

Valencia, Spain - At a fifth 33rd America's Cup Competitor Meeting today in Valencia, Alinghi, the Defender, the Spanish Challenger of Record and 16 of the 17 challengers (China absent) discussed amendments to the Competition Regulations, which are now in the final drafting stage. They also agreed a Protocol amendment which will loosen the restriction on designers moving between teams. The group appointed two additional members of the Arbitration Panel: David Kellett (AUS), ISAF Vice-President, and Peter Leaver (GBR), a UK barrister since 1967 and Chairman of the Court of Arbitration for Sport, will join Henry Peter (SUI), Luis Maria Cazorla (ESP) and Graham McKenzie (NZL). The 19 competitors also named David Pedrick (USA) Technical Director for the 33rd America's Cup.

Pedrick, involved in the America's Cup since 1974, will be Chairman of the Measurement Committee - made up of no less than two additional members - that ensures compliance with the AC33 rules and any other measurement requirements. “It is exciting to be engaged in the America's Cup in this way, to actually be part of helping this new class of yacht be successful for the 33rd America's Cup. The configuration of the new AC33 class is pretty tightly and simply defined, but there may be some loopholes that we don't yet understand and will need to be mindful of. The construction is defined in a simpler way than with the ACC class and there may be some structural situations that will need careful monitoring. Because this is a new class and all the interpretations are to be public, the hope is that the dialogue with the competitors will be such that if there is uncertainty they will feel free to ask the questions early.”

The Host City agreement was also discussed today along with plans to run the pre-regattas in 2009 and the Match in 2010 in Valencia. Negotiations are moving forward with the Spanish administrations and AC Management is confident of announcing a deal with Valencia in the near future. The competitors decided that participation in the 2009 pre-regattas on ACC Version 5.0 yachts is to be compulsory for all teams and it is intended that syndicates be allocated bases once they confirm their participation in these races.


London, UK - Alinghi, Defender of the 33rd America’s Cup, will lead an all-star cast of teams during this season’s World Match Racing Tour. “It will be great for us to get back on the World Tour and its top level match racing,” said Ed Baird, helmsman for Alinghi. Baird, three-time Match Racing World Champion, ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year and defending 32nd America’s Cup helmsman, will lead Alinghi at most stops on the World Tour.

An interesting change to this year’s World Tour has been the introduction of the ‘Tour Card’ which guarantees certain teams entry into all of the World Tour events based on their previous years performance. The six teams that qualified for World Tour cards this year include:

1. Ian Williams (GBR) Bahrain Team Pindar – 2 x defending ISAF Match Racing World Champion.
2. Sébastien Col (FRA) French Team/K-Challenge – America’s Cup helmsman and ISAF ranked number one match racer
3. Mathieu Richard (FRA) French Team/Team French Spirit
4. Paolo Cian (ITA) Team Shosholoza
5. Adam Minoprio (NZL) Emirates Team New Zealand/Black Match Racing
6. Torvar Mirsky (AUS) Mirsky Racing Team

One remaining wildcard has yet to be allocated but there is strong interest from several teams. In addition to those above; a number of top teams are planning to compete on this year’s World Tour including: Magnus Holmberg of Victory Challenge, three-time Olympic gold medalist Ben Ainslie and his TeamOrigin as well as Peter Gilmour who announced at the Monsoon Cup that Yanmar would be coming onboard as a new sponsor.

The new invite policy stems from a collaboration of input from competitors, events and the Tour. ‘The policy helps in a number of ways,’ commented Tour Director Craig Mitchell, ‘Teams with a Tour Card get an automatic invite to the first 9 events’. This will help them with their own promotion and search for sponsors as they know for certain which events they will compete in. In previous years a team would find out if their invite had been accepted only a short time before the event, stopping them from any kind of long term planning. The event promoters also benefit from knowing who the majority of competitors will be at their event early on in the year. In terms of the overall championship there is now a clearly defined path laid down to show teams how they can get onto the World Tour and compete for the ISAF Match Racing World Championship.

March 10 - 15, 2009 Marseille International Match Race Marseille, France
May 27 - June 1, 2009 Match Race Germany Langenargen, Germany
June 2 - 7, 2009 Korea Match Cup Gyeonggi, Korea
June 16 - 21, 2009 Portugal Match Cup Troia, Portugal
June 29 - July 5, 2009 Match Cup Sweden Marstrand, Sweden
September 1 - 6, 2009 St Moritz Match Race St Moritz, Switzerland
September 9 - 13, 2009 Danish Open Denmark
September 22 - 27, 2009 Brasil Sailing Cup Brazil
October 5 - 11, 2009 King Edward VII Gold Cup Hamilton, Bermuda
December 1 - 6, 2009 Monsoon Cup K.Terengganu, Malaysia