Blown out kites, full on match racing and a yellow card for dissention, it was an all action last day
Team Origin has won the 1851 Trophy winning the final two of the three match races that were held in a blustery Solent today.
The morning’s racing started badly for the Brits, with a loss in the first race after Ainslie and his team were dealt a penalty for ‘dissent’ after the team objected vociferously to an umpire’s decision on the first leg. Incensed that the umpires had green flagged a port and starboard incident when the Brits came head to head with the American team, the expression of their frustration not only resulted in the penalty itself, but seemed to rattle the team and damage their performance for the remainder of the race.
In race two, Team Origin principal Sir Keith Mills stepped aboard where it is understood that his only words to Ainslie were, “don’t get mad, get even.”
In this race it was BMW Oracle who were dealt a penalty when the Brits luffed them on the first downwind leg. After this, despite being ahead on the second downwind leg, the American team had an insufficient lead to clear their penalty and stay in the lead. Instead, Spithill and co. slowed the boat down and tried to nail a penalty back on the Brits to neutralise the infringement. But Ainslie saw it coming and kept out of trouble despite being forced to go head to wind on the final run to the finish.
In the third and deciding race of the day, Team Origin gained the upper hand in the pre-start and never relinquished their lead. Winning this race was made easier on the last downwind leg when BMW Oracle sailed over their kite during the hoist and triggered a full scale handling drama that saw them complete most of the leg with a kite in tatters, a genoa half set up the forestay and a fully set replacement kite.
Winning the third race sealed the overall victory for Team Origin, a win that clearly meant a great deal to the team.
REPLAYS – You can watch and listen to all the races including live video, animation and commentary via the SailTV window on our home page
ANALYSIS – Why the 1851 Trophy is more than just a Cup 2
For more detail on today’s action, here’s the official report:
The three final races held today between Sir Keith Mills’ TEAMORIGIN and Larry Ellison’s BMW ORACLE Racing at the 1851 Cup in the Solent, saw the British crew and skipper quadruple Olympic medallist Ben Ainslie claim victory over the 2010 America’s Cup champions from the US led by James Spithill.
This week in Cowes, the 1851 Cup saw TEAMORIGIN come out on top on the first two days of windward-leeward match racing. However victory yesterday in the re-enactment of the 1851 race clockwise around the Isle of Wight, which spawned the America’s Cup, the pinnacle event in yacht racing, went to BMW ORACLE Racing, just as their forebears on America had 159 years earlier. While TEAMORIGIN were ahead on points going into today’s match racing, morally it was even between the two teams.
BMW ORACLE Racing claimed the first of today’s triple points scoring windward-leeward races to even the score with TEAMORIGIN.
In this Ainslie nearly managed to lock Spithill into ‘dead man’s corner’, the area of the start box behind the pin, however both were early for the line and the highly experienced BMW ORACLE Racing skipper managed to wriggle back into contention. TEAMORIGIN had the upper hand up the first part of the beat, but by the first mark rounding BMW ORACLE Racing had taken the lead. At the weather mark TEAMORIGIN were on BMW ORACLE Racing’s transom and in attempting to get the inside overlap, weren’t able to achieve this, and the British crew ‘expressed their frustration’ to the umpires and their opponents for which they were duly awarded with a penalty for ‘dissent’.
From here the British team trailed the Americans around the race course, their defeat as BMW ORACLE Racing crossed the line coinciding with the British team’s spinnaker bursting.
Race two provided a fantastic display of the drama possible in top-level match racing.
In this TEAMORIGIN swapped sides in the pre-start to take the right side and a favourable shift soon after the start gun caused them to move to take an early lead.
This was to be the tightest race of the day as was proved on the first run, when BMW ORACLE Racing were on TEAMORIGIN’s transom creating a wind shadow. To get out of this situation Ben Ainslie luffed his opponent, causing the spinnaker on Spithill’s boat to touch them resulting in a penalty being awarded to BMW ORACLE Racing. The American team managed to slip ahead after this, leading for the next lap, but not by enough to clear their penalty before the finish – but this was not without considerable effort spent trying: On the final run both boats at one point found themselves pointing the wrong way up the race course as TEAMORIGIN attempted to prevent the American boat completing its penalty turn. Eventually the two boats did finish the race neck and neck, but with BMW ORACLE Racing having failed to complete their penalty. 7-4 to TEAMORIGIN on points.
In the final race today with the wind exceeding 20 knots, Ben Ainslie once again excelled in the pre-start shovelling his opponent well beyond the right side of the start box. This resulted in both boats being late for the start line, but with TEAMORIGIN ahead by a boat length and in control. BMW ORACLE Racing attempted to engage through the race, but were too far behind. The American team’s fate was sealed when during the spinnaker hoist on the final rounding of the weather mark they ran over their sail. This disaster handed TEAMORIGIN the race win, but also victory in the 1851 Cup Regatta with a final scoreline of 10-4.