“Larry Ellison’s boat USA won a convincing victory on Friday over Ernesto Bertarelli’s Alinghi in the first race of the 2010 America’s Cup off Valencia, Spain.
One more win in the best-of-three series would allow Mr Ellison’s BMW Oracle team to secure the cup from Alinghi, the defender, at the end of a bitter, three-year legal battle that has pitted the two billionaires against each other and excluded teams from other countries such as the UK, China and New Zealand.
The USA trimaran – a lightweight, three-hulled boat – boasted a revolutionary wing larger than the wing of an Airbus A380 superjumbo jet, instead of a conventional sail.
As expected, the wing drove the trimaran fast and close to the wind in the initial upwind leg of 20 nautical miles after an awkward start that left Alinghi with a penalty and USA stalled on the start line.
To the surprise of many sailing experts, however, the BMW Oracle boat also performed better than the two-hulled Alinghi catamaran in the downwind leg to the finish, although the lightness of the wind was expected to favour Alinghi, which is believed to weigh less.”
These aren’t the boats I remember from earlier years, but I still love this race series.