TeamOrigin victorious in the 1851 Cup
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 quadrupal Olympic medallist Ben Ainslie claim victory over the 2010 America’s Cup champions from the US team led by James Spithill.
This week in Cowes, the 1851 Cup started with TeamOrigin coming 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 went to BMW Oracle Racing, just as it had to their forebears on America 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’, 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’ (ie colourful language).
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 exploding.
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 against BMW Oracle Racing. The American team managed to slip ahead soon after this, leading for the next lap, but not by enough to clear their penalty before the finish – however this was not with 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.
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 throughout 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 with a final scoreline of 10-4.