Today in Valencia, USA, the trimaran sailed by the Challenger, BMW ORACLE Racing Team, crossed the finish line 15 minutes and 28 seconds before the Defender Alinghi during Race One of the 33rd America's Cup. After two days of postponement, today's race kicked of a best-of-three match that will last throughout the weekend and possibly into next week.
USA, represented by San Francisco's Golden Gate Yacht Club, appeared to be stalled at the starting line and took nearly one and a half minutes to accelerate and take off. Shortly after entering the race course, however, they inflicted a penalty on the Swiss team after they entered without right of way. This set the tone for the rest of the race, as USA overcame their 600-meter deficit, took the lead and held it for the remainder of the course. Sailing upwind with only a mainsail, while Alinghi flew both a main and headsail, USA reached speeds of 28 knots, though the wind was between 6-10 knots. USA rounded the windward mark 3 minutes and 21 seconds ahead of Alinghi and built on this lead throughout the entire downwind leg, finishing a record-breaking 15 minutes 28 seconds ahead of the Defender. This is the biggest winning margin in the history of the America's Cup since 1988, when USA's Stars and Stripes beat New Zealands's KZ 1 by 18 minutes, 15 second and then 21 minutes 10 seconds.
Conditions were ideal with reasonably flat waters and breeze below ten knots. The second race is scheduled to begin on Sunday and can be viewed live at BMW Oracle's website. For more on the race, keep following Cup Watch.