Monday, July 5, 2010

Cowes Week: TeamOrigin and America's Cup champions to contest the 1851 Cup

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.

Competition will take place on the historic waters of the Solent and around the Isle of Wight upon which a race won by the New York yacht America gave rise to the America’s Cup, the oldest trophy in the international sport. The 1851 Cup celebrates this event. Racing will be held as close to West Cowes as possible to give spectators a close-up view, with a special race around the Isle of Wight also planned.

The racing schedule is:

Match racing : up to three short match races per day on Tuesday 3rd, Wednesday 4th and Friday 6th August, starting from 1430 onwards

Round the Island race : Thursday 5th August both boats will go around the Island in a clockwise direction, replicating the direction of the yachts back in 1851

Aged 30, 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.

"This will be an incredible event which I am sure will capture the imagination of sports fans across the UK," commented Ben Ainslie, TEAMORIGIN Skipper and Helmsman. "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.”

The teams will be based at the 1851 Marquee on Cowes Parade, adjacent to the Royal Yacht Squadron. There will be information and activities for public and guests daily.

The iconic America’s Cup will be on public display during the day. Members of each team will be on hand to sign posters, answer questions and talk about their passion for their sport and for winning the America’s Cup.

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.”

Leslie Greenhalgh