The 1851 Cup is a great idea. Not only will the race help to rebuild perceptions about the America’s Cup, but it will also provide spectators at Cowes Week with something else to watch from the 3rd to the 6th of August. The America’s Cup Trophy will also be on display at a special marquee adjacent to the Royal Yacht Squadron.
The 1851 Cup will recreate an historic race around the Isle of Wight which was won by the yacht ‘America’ and gave rise to the America’s Cup. Racing will be held as close to West Cowes as possible to give spectators a close-up view. On Thursday 5th of August, TEAMORIGIN and BMW ORACLE will race clockwise around the Island, replicating the direction sailed in 1851.
On the 3rd, 4th of August, 3 match races will be held each day. Another ‘Round the Island’ Race will take place on the 6th of August.
The publicity for the event and the ‘cut and paste’ press say:
The two hottest match racing skippers in the world, TEAMORIGIN’s Ben Ainslie, and BMW ORACLE Racing’s James Spithill, will lead their teams contesting the 1851 Cup. Britain’s TEAMORIGIN will be the be first potential challenger for the next America’s Cup to race head-to-head with BMW ORACLE Racing, winners of the 33rd America’s Cup.
Now ‘hottest’ is a subjective term – perhaps the PR folk are talking about Ben’s fashion shoots for Henri Lloyd or some ‘hot or not’ competition for match-racing skippers that we don’t know about. In the other races where potential challengers for the next America’s Cup race head-to-head with BMW ORACLE, the Louis Vuitton Trophy, Ainslie and Spithill have not been the pick of the bunch. In the last event BMW ORACLE finished 9th out of 10 and TEAMORIGIN came in 7th. According to ISAF, in the official World Match Racing rankings, Ainslie is 3rd after Adam Minoprio and Torvar Mirsky and James Spithill is not in the top 25.
Nevertheless, Australian James Spithill the youngest-ever America’s Cup skipper, will go into battle against Great Britain’s Ben Ainslie, aged 33, Skipper and Helmsman of TEAMORIGIN, four times Olympic medallist with 3 golds and 1 silver. Ainslie said:
“This will be an incredible event which I am sure will capture the imagination of sports fans across the UK. We relish the idea of taking on the Defenders in our home waters. We have a busy season in 2010 and The 1851 Cup is one that we are all particularly looking forward to.”
James Spithill, Skipper of BMW ORACLE Racing added:
“Ben’s a mate and fantastic sailor. Having said that, we’re really looking forward to taking the fight to him and his guys. For our team, this is a key stepping stone from having been victorious challengers in February when we beat Alinghi, to becoming a unit that has to defend the 34th America’s Cup.”
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