New BMW Oracle ACC team members and plans for next 18 months 26/1/06

 After a well-deserved holiday break, BMW ORACLE Racing team are ready to get back to business in Valencia. Chris Dickson chatting about the New Year plans commented: “Eighteen months from now, the 32nd America’s Cup will be over, making each day between now and then extremely valuable. This is a critical year for us. We will be operating from our new base, we will launch and sail the first of our new race boats, we will continue development of the new boat and start designing a second new boat, and we will be out on the race course continuing our crew development and improving performance. We have three important pre-Regattas all in Valencia as well as a full schedule of match racing. This year will be a good barometer as to where we stand for 2007.”

The 2006 racing season started this week with the Auckland Match Racing Cup in New Zealand. Emirates Team New Zealand currently lead BMW Oracle Racing in the round robin (see news story here). 

When the sailing team reports to Valencia in February, the new additions to the BMW team will include world-class match racer Sten Mohr who joins the afterguard. Other new additions include New Zealander Morgan Trubovich, Australian Nick Partridge and American John Ziskind. New Zealander Paul Wallbank joins the sailing team as physical trainer/conditioner.

The team will be two-boat training and testing this spring in Valencia prior to the start of competition in the three America’s Cup Class pre-Regattas, Louis Vuitton Acts 10, 11 and 12. The first regatta starts May 11 in Valencia. “As we get back to running a full two-boat testing and training programme, we will need to sail with two complete race crews,” Dickson said. “We had a few spots to fill to achieve that goal. Sten Mohr brings additional depth to our afterguard.”

The Danish match racing veteran Mohr will be part of the sailing team afterguard. Mohr, often found at or near the top of the International Sailing Federation’s (ISAF) world match racing ranking list, recently sailed with the Victory Challenge team.

Trubovich, 33, from Auckland, New Zealand, joins the sailing team as a trimmer. This will be his fourth America’s Cup (1995 Team New Zealand, 2000 AmericaOne and 2003 Stars & Stripes). Partridge, 30, sailed with BMW ORACLE Racing extensively during the 2005 two-boat testing programme in Valencia. Part of the winning 2005 Fastnet Race with Maximus, Partridge joins the foredeck crew. Wallbank, 33, a well-known boxing trainer in Auckland also is a former sparring partner for New Zealand World Heavyweight contender ‘Tuaman’. Ziskind, a member of Oracle BMW Racing in the 2002-2003 campaign, returned to the team at the end of 2005 season and will sail this year as a trimmer. A former World Match Racing Champion, the American is in his third Cup campaign.