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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Saturday, February 13, 2010

BMW Oracle sails away in Cup opener

Advertiser News Services

Tearing along the Mediterranean so fast it nearly lifted all the way out of the water, BMW Oracle Racing's monster trimaran made up for a bad start and put an American team on the verge of winning the America's Cup for the first time since 1995.

BMW Oracle Racing overtook two-time defending champion Alinghi of Switzerland yesterday at Valencia, Spain and sped off with the first race of their bitter showdown, borne along on a radical wing and a computer-age tycoon's staggering budget.

The 223-foot wing clearly was the thing, flying the stodgy old America's Cup right into a new era.

"The designers did a brilliant job," said Silicon Valley maverick Larry Ellison, who didn't even get to sail aboard the boat he owns because of a weight limit. "The piece of the kit that we're most proud of is the wing. We think it's a terrific engine for this boat."

The black-and-white trimaran's winning margin of 15 minutes, 28 seconds overshadowed an error that left the Americans stalled at the start of the 40-mile race on a windward-leeward loop.

BMW Oracle Racing is one win away from bringing the America's Cup back to the United States for the first time since Dennis Conner lost it in 1995 to Team New Zealand and Russell Coutts, who is BMW Oracle Racing's CEO. If the Americans win, the oldest trophy in international sports will belong to San Francisco's Golden Gate Yacht Club.

Race 2 in the best-of-three series is scheduled for tomorrow over a triangle course with 13-mile legs. The first leg is into the wind and the last two are across the wind, which will be tricky for the multihulls.



Second-seeded Nikolay Davydenko defeated Jurgen Melzer, 6-3, 6-2, yesterday to set up a semifinal match with Robin Soderling at the AMN Amro tournament in Rotterdam, Netherlands.

Third-seeded Soderling powered past Julien Benneteau, 6-0, 6-1.

Sixth-seeded Michael Youzhny, the 2007 champion, ousted No. 4 Gael Monfils, 5-7, 6-2, 6-3. The Russian will face top-seeded Novak Djokovic, who advanced after his quarterfinal opponent Florian Mayer withdrew with a leg injury.


Top-seeded Juan Carlos Ferrero reached the semifinals of the Brazil Open in Costa Do Sauipe, defeating Carlos Berloq of Argentina, 6-3, 6-2, yesterday.

In another quarterfinal of the outdoor clay-court tournament, third-seeded Igor Andreev of Russia beat sixth-seeded Pablo Cuevas of Uruguay, 6-1, 6-1.


Top-seeded Elena Dementieva of Russia rallied to beat Andrea Petkovic of Germany, 3-6, 6-4, 6-2, yesterday to reach the semifinals of the Open GDF Suez in Paris.

Dementieva will meet American teenager Melanie Oudin, who beat Hungray's Agnes Szavay, 2-6, 6-4, 6-2.

Flavia Pennetta advanced with a 6-1, 6-3 win over Tathiana Garbin and will play Lucie Safarova of the Czech Republic, who cruised past sixth-seeded Shahar Peer of Israel, 6-3, 6-0.