The final day of sailing in Valencia draws to a close the 2006 season that began in February. The team sailed more than 150 days this year in Valencia including days spent performance testing, crew training, in-house racing as well as competing in the three 2006 Louis Vuitton Acts. In this critical lead-up year to the 2007 Louis Vuitton Cup, the team dedicated much of the on-the-water time to developing its new race boat USA 87 and developing from that innovative platform the design for the second new boat.
“We set out an ambitious programme at the start of the year and achieved our goals,” said CEO and skipper Chris Dickson. “The final proof will come next year but we are pleased with where we are with less than six months until the start of the Louis Vuitton Cup. With more than 150 sailing days and well over 500 hours of performance testing and racing logged on our first new-generation race boat, we accomplished even more than we set out to do in 2006. Each and every person within the team gave their best effort this year and I am proud of what we have achieved together in all areas of the programme.”
In addition to the testing and training time, the team competed in 37 races during Louis Vuitton Acts 10-12 in Valencia, including their victory at Act 10, the match racing season opener. The team competed in close to another 100 match races at various regattas with wins posted at the Trofeo Challenge, Portugal Match Cup, Trieste Challenge and Spanish Open as well as at the German Sailing Grand Prix raced in America’s Cup Class yachts.
While sailing in Valencia is over until early next year, work continues at the team’s base on the Port America’s Cup. Once the boats complete their final sailing session today, the shore team’s work begins as the team starts preparations for moving sailing team operations to New Zealand for the European winter session.
The New Zealand session kicks-off with two BMW ORACLE Racing teams lining up at the New Zealand Match Racing Championships Nov 22-26. The sailing team will then start their crew training at the end of this month with USA 71, which is already in New Zealand after being shipped their from Germany following the German Sailing Grand Prix. The team will take a Christmas holiday break before returning to the Hauraki Gulf training programme.
Meanwhile construction of the team’s second 2007-generation America’s Cup yacht continues in Anacortes, WA, in the Seattle region of the northwest US.