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BMW ORACLE Racing ramps up for 2006 season

by 32nd America’s Cup media 24 Jan 2006 18:03 GMT

New Additions to Sailing Team include top Danish Match Racer Sten Mohr

BMW ORACLE Racing, the top ranked Challenger for the 32nd America’s Cup, is back in Valencia preparing for the start of the 2006 sailing season. The team is completing its new base in the Port America’s Cup, preparing for sailing this spring and adding new talent to the sailing team. Construction of the team’s first new generation race boat continues in Anacortes, WA, in the USA.

“After a well-deserved holiday break, we are all ready to get back to business,” said BMW ORACLE Racing CEO and Skipper Chris Dickson. “Eighteen months from now, the 32nd America’s Cup will be over, making each day between now and then extremely valuable. This is a critical year for us. We will be operating from our new base, we will launch and sail the first of our new race boats, we will continue development of the new boat and start designing a second new boat, and we will be out on the race course continuing our crew development and improving performance. We have three important pre-Regattas all in Valencia as well as a full schedule of match racing. This year will be a good barometer as to where we stand for 2007.”

Sailing Team

Dickson and tactician Bertrand Pacé are not wasting any time getting onto the race course. The 2006 racing season starts this week with the Auckland Match Racing Cup in New Zealand. Dickson and Pacé each lead a BMW ORACLE Racing crew at this Grade 1 match racing event. Dickson will sail with Paul Westlake, Robbie Naismith, Kazuhiko Sofuku, and Jamie Gale. Pacé sails with Rod Dawson, Brad Webb, Zach Hurst, and Sean Clarkson.

When the sailing team reports to Valencia in February, the new additions will include world-class match racer Sten Mohr who joins the afterguard. Other new additions include New Zealander Morgan Trubovich, Australian Nick Partridge and American John Ziskind. New Zealander Paul Wallbank joins the sailing team as physical trainer/conditioner.

The team will be two-boat training and testing this spring in Valencia prior to the start of competition in the three America’s Cup Class pre-Regattas, Louis Vuitton Acts 10, 11 and 12. The first regatta starts May 11 in Valencia. “As we get back to running a full two-boat testing and training program, we will need to sail with two complete race crews,” Dickson said. “We had a few spots to fill to achieve that goal. Sten Mohr brings additional depth to our afterguard.”

The Danish match racing veteran Mohr will be part of the sailing team afterguard. Mohr, often found at or near the top of the International Sailing Federation’s (ISAF) world match racing ranking list, recently sailed with the Victory Challenge team.

Trubovich, 33, from Auckland, New Zealand, joins the sailing team as a trimmer. This will be his fourth America’s Cup (1995 Team New Zealand, 2000 AmericaOne and 2003 Stars & Stripes). Partridge, 30, sailed with BMW ORACLE Racing extensively during the 2005 two-boat testing program in Valencia. Part of the winning 2005 Fastnet Race with Maximus, Partridge joins the foredeck crew. Wallbank, 33, a well-known boxing trainer in Auckland also is a former sparring partner for New Zealand World Heavyweight contender “Tuaman.” Ziskind, a member of Oracle BMW Racing in the 2002-2003 campaign, returned to the team at the end of 2005 season and will sail this year as a trimmer. A former World Match Racing Champion, the American is in his third Cup campaign.

New Boat

New boat construction continues throughout the winter at the purpose-built facility in Anacortes, WA in the US. Team members Mark Turner, Mark Somerville, and Tim Smyth are managing the build of the team’s first new race boat. BMW engineers are on site contributing their automotive and technical know-how as part of the Seattle-based structural engineering team. The boat’s keel fin is being manufactured at a BMW facility in Eisenach, Germany. The boat will be launched this spring at a date to be announced.

New Base at World-Class Venue

Construction of the new BMW ORACLE Racing team base on the Port America’s Cup in Valencia is nearing completion. A formal base opening will be scheduled this spring at a date to be announced. Once the base is complete, the team looks forward to welcoming the public to its innovative interactive centre. While the team’s global operations are ongoing at various sites around the world, the 125 Valencia based team members will be working from the base when the program is at full capacity this spring.

The team’s base is part of the overall event development at the Port America’s Cup. Since the regattas staged in Valencia last June, the harbour area, which serves as the focal point of the shoreside America’s Cup activities, has undergone major construction works. Most of the team bases are finished or nearing completion and commercial truck traffic has been re-routed away from the waterfront. A canal has cut to allow the boats a short tow to the race course.

“We are on track to where we wanted to be at this stage of the campaign,” Dickson said.

I am pleased with progress to date and look forward to what promises to be a busy but exciting year as we see years of vision and planning becoming a tangible reality. We are here only through tremendous dedication from the entire team and the ongoing support of our partners and sponsors as well as our families. I am proud of what we have achieved to get to this stage. The true test awaits us on the water.”

The New Era Delivers Results

With 18 months remaining for the 2007 America’s Cup cycle, the New Era of the event in Europe is delivering the results hoped for, Dickson says. “The 2005 television and media results demonstrate the commercial value of a continuous circuit of racing in the years leading up to the America’s Cup. This hopefully will provide a good basis for more coverage in 2006 as momentum builds for 2007. We look forward to welcoming even more fans to Valencia to watch the thrilling competition in 2006.”

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