Recreating a historic race saw the same result 159 years later

Billed as a recreation of the historic inaugural match that formed the start of the America’s Cup 159 years ago, today’s race between Team Origin and BMW Oracle Racing around the Isle of Wight replicated the very first match rather too accurately – at least for British supporters.

Five hours after starting their east about race, it was the Americans that once again scored a victory against the British team. While their wining margin was a significant one, the race had started with plenty of drama. During the pre-start Team Origin incurred a penalty in a port and starboard incident. Then as the pair approached North Sturbridge buoy having gybed onto port to avoid the shallows off Ryde, Team Orgin engaged in an aggressive luff that saw the pair end up close to head to wind with their spinnakers up. The timing couldn’t have been better for some of the Cowes Week competitors as the incident took place within metres of the IRC 1 fleet that were rounding North Sturbridge at the time.

As Ainslie on Team Origin released his grip of the Americans, both boats peeled away back onto a reach. Seconds later the American spinnaker exploded leaving the Brits clear to gybe away.

If blown out spinnakers were to settle the score, the Brits were one nil up, but it wasn’t to last. Close to the forts at the eastern end of the Solent, the Brits blew their kite into pieces then managed to wrap the remaining pieces of the sail under the boat, an accident that handed the lead to the Americans. A lead that extended as the pair headed around the back of the island.

Breaking their genoa halyard added to the woes aboard the British boat and it was decided to halt the race in Freshwater Bay and perform a staggered re-start at Hurst Castle once the problem had been resolved. BMW Oracle re-started one minute before the Brits, a margin that only increased and saw Team Origin trail by two minutes by the finish.

While the Royal Thames Cup, set up specifically for this around the island race, will now head to the USA, tomorrow, (Friday), sees a return to match racing in the Solent and the competition for the Trafalgar Cup in which each race will count for three points rather than one. Three races are planned which means that two wins tomorrow for either team will produce the overall winner.

Racing is due to start at 15.30 local.