Finally after two cancelled days last Monday and Wednesday, racing of the first fully multi hull America's Cup got underway today Friday the 12th February. The breezy morning gave hope to the day and it did materialize in real racing at 1434 CET. The reply to the rumours about speed where coming to an end, and we could see the reality of Defender Alinghi 5 catamaran, and Challenger BMWOracle trimaran by dueling.
The start part duel which is five minutes prior the actual match was exciting as ever, with Alinghi closing the way to the starboard right of way BMW Oracle, and receiving a penalty during the entrance. But the excitement was not over as BMW Oracle blocking Alinghi5 was actually immobilized itself and could not move for a minute. While this happened Alinghi5 escaped, went inside the box turned the start mark and got a one minute 27 second advantage and 670 metres of length before the BMWOracle made its way the start line. The start gave a good advantage to Defender Alinghi5. But unfortunately for the defender this was short lived and in less thirty minutes the USA BMW Oracle trimaran made it up to nothing. Only two tacks and twenty miles upwind the US boat continued to show its power adding further metres before the turn of the top mark, where Alinghi5 had a deficit of three minutes 21 seconds. Before the mark commentators where stating that in most probability the down wind leg should give advantage to the defender, being the catamaran lighter to the US trimaran. An advantage which did not materialize and again we saw the BMWOracle thrashing the Swiss boat and adding its distance close to the four thousand metres mark. Just to add more pain to the Defender when doing the penalty before the finish line, Alinghi did not cross it properly and had to cross over again adding a further five minutes to the deficit which finished a total of 15 minutes 28 seconds.
The first of the best of three races in mostly light wind has shown a superior power from the US Trimaran Challenger and it will take something big from the Swiss Defender to haul this deficit which in today's conditions had an average of 10% advantage. Today's average ten knots breeze showed the US BMWOracle trimaran more power in both up and down wind legs, and that it can ride closer to wind angle. Next race now is scheduled for Sunday with a forecast wind of Force 4 to 5. We will see if the judges give way to racing in this wind for round two, and what Alinghi 5 can do for itself to make it competitive.