Spithill: Valuable lessons learned this week

© ORACLE TEAM USA / Javier Salinas

ORACLE TEAM USA finished the latest practice week on a positive note with two wins in three starts in Friday’s races.

The end of the week saw moderate 10-knot Southerly conditions similar to what many are predicting for the America’s Cup race period in June.

But earlier in the week, the winds were often closer to 20 knots, from the east, making for challenging conditions.

“We learned a lot this week,” said ORACLE TEAM USA skipper Jimmy Spithill. “On Wednesday, we were the only team out there with the wind well above 20 knots, so we learned a bit about how hard we could push in the heavy stuff and did numerous laps.

“Yesterday we still had strong conditions. We had a difficult gybe in a race against Artemis and a few of the stress alarms on the boat went off, so we came in to check a few things. As it turned out, nothing was damaged, but it meant we lost a bit of race time.

“But today was great. We’re still on our high-speed boards (heavy air boards) and even though we were a bit out of range for them in today’s conditions, we managed to have some good races, and some interesting line-ups outside of racing. We gathered a lot of useful information to feed into the design team.

“On the sailing side, we’ve been happier with our crew work. We’re trying to do a few things in our playbook differently and the guys have really responded well to the challenge.

"Also good to see Dean Barker and SoftBank Team Japan, beating TNZ and Peter Burling by a healthy margin in their race today.

“The forecast is pretty light over the next few days, so we’re going to take a bit of time to make some scheduled upgrades before we sail again early next week.

“There’s still a lot of potential left untapped in our boat and crew work and as of today we have exactly four weeks to unlock as much of it as we can before the first race of the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup Qualifiers. There won’t be a lot of down time!”

More news