In a regatta with great significance for 2010 as a whole, Britain’s America’s Cup team, Origin, recovered its rhythm and stride today to record a second consecutive victory in the Louis Vuitton Trophy.
This is almost a re-launch of Britain’s America’s Cup hopes. The uncertainties created by years of legal wrangling were swept away when the San Francisco-based BMW Oracle team crushed the Swiss-based Alinghi defence in Valencia last month.
That means there should be a clear pathway when Oracle publishes a timetable for the structure of America’s Cup 34 at the end of this month. You can feel a new sense of purpose all around Auckland’s Viaduct Basin.
Additionally, Origin’s brand new, Juan Kouyoumdjian-designed 52-footer is nearing completion a few miles away in Gulf Harbour prior to being shipped to Cascais, Portugal and a vigorous work-up ahead of this year’s Audi MedCup series. With Prada’s Luna Rossa team joining the fray and Team New Zealand defending its 2009 title, the heat will be on.
Not to mention skipper Ben Ainslie’s continuing training for his tilt at a fourth consecutive gold in Weymouth in 2012 and his tactician Iain Percy’s defence of his 2008 Olympic crown, with Andrew Simpson.
Origin’s latest victim in sparkling conditions on the Waitemata Harbour was the Russian team, Synergy, not yet a force but definitely a threat.
For once, the British crew gave skipper Ainslie a comfortable ride. The quadruple Olympic medallist – there are 10 medals distributed among the 17-man crew, seven of them gold and there is a winning Volvo round the world race skipper for good measure – led over the 5.2-mile course from start to finish.
Coach Kelvin Harrap said: “We got the basics right today. The crew work was smooth and efficient and all went to plan. Now we need to focus on winning our next two races to finish the round robin in the best possible position.”
Only the defending Emirates Team New Zealand remains unbeaten after five outings. Two from Italy, a Franco-German collaboration, a French and a Swedish group which looks less threatening than it is powerful, make up a class field.
Team Origin is in a bunch of four with a 3-2 score bidding to avoid the quarter final cut of two on Tuesday. With all the teams vulnerable to gear damage, often due to a lack of training time, being up to speed in basic boat handling could be decisive.