America's Cup defender trounced in opening day of 1851 Cup at Cowes

Cowes (UK, IOW) - The 1851 Cup - BMW ORACLE Racing - Day 1

BMW ORACLE Racing dropped two heats today to TEAMORIGIN on the first day of The 1851 Cup, a one-off match racing regatta, being sailed off Cowes Isle of Wight, between the teams in BMW ORACLE Racing’s two V5 America’s Cup Class sloops.

The event is a reenactment of the first yacht races between America and England which were the genesis of the America's Cup.

In Race 1 BMW ORACLE Racing skipper Jimmy Spithill of Australia took the right side of the racecourse and won a tacking duel up the first leg to lead at the first windward mark after a leg of 1.2 nautical miles.

The two crews went through the leeward gate together, each taking opposite sides, and up the second windward leg TEAMORIGIN opened a lead to on the right hand side.

Cowes (UK, IOW) - The 1851 Cup - BMW ORACLE Racing - Day 1

'In the first race we had an advantage off the start line, but probably chose the wrong leeward gate to round,' said tactician John Kostecki. 'Up the second beat they got a little shift to the right, but fault on us. We have to get it right next time.'

In the second race TEAMORIGIN got an early lead when BMW ORACLE Racing jumped the start early and lost valuable time restarting.

The BMW ORACLE crew was tight on TEAMORIGIN’s lee bow trying to force them over the start line early, but instead the westerly flowing tide swept BMW ORACLE over the line early and handed the British a sizable advantage.

Cowes (UK, IOW) - The 1851 Cup - BMW ORACLE Racing - Day 1

The race was shortened at the leeward gate with the wind blowing 22 knots and gusting higher.

'We would’ve preferred another lap,' said Murray Jones, the team’s strategist. 'We were a long way behind so in that situation you’re hoping for a handling error or a breakdown on your opponent. But I enjoyed today.'