ORACLE TEAM USA looking for bounce back on Sunday

Hamilton (BDA) - 35th America's Cup Bermuda 2017 - ORACLE TEAM USA
photo: Sam Greenfield
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photo: Ricardo Pinto
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Bermuda (BDA) - 35th America's Cup 2017 - 35th America's Cup Match Presented by Louis Vuitton, Race day
photo: Gilles Martin-Raget
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Bermuda (BDA) - 35th America's Cup 2017 - 35th America's Cup Match Presented by Louis Vuitton- Race Day
photo: Sander van der Borch
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Bermuda (BDA) - 35th America's Cup Bermuda 2017 - 35th America's Cup Match Presented by Louis Vuitton - ORACLE TEAM USA
photo: Sam Greenfield
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The first day of the 35th America’s Cup match in Bermuda was a challenging one for ORACLE TEAM USA who trail 1-0 on the scorecard.

Conditions were light on Saturday afternoon – 7 to 9 knots from and easterly direction – making for challenging maneuvers and tactical calls in puffy, shifty breezes.

Two races were sailed on Bermuda’s Great Sound and Emirates Team New Zealand won both, although ORACLE TEAM USA had its opportunities. In both contests, the Kiwis built early leads only to have ORACLE TEAM USA close the gap.

"We had our opportunities," said skipper Jimmy Spithill. “But the bottom line is they made fewer mistakes today than we did and that was the difference.

“I thought Tommy and the boys did a great job of getting us back into it both times. It’s just a shame we couldn’t pull it off.

"We'll have a good debrief tonight, make some adjustments and come back stronger tomorrow.”

Two more races are scheduled on Sunday, with the forecast for slightly stronger winds.

ORACLE TEAM USA earned a one bonus point advantage by winning the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup Qualifiers earlier this month. With the two wins today, Emirates Team New Zealand now leads the ‘first to seven points’ series 1-0.


America’s Cup Match – Race One Report

The wind on Bermuda’s Great Sound was in the 7 to 8 knot range when ORACLE TEAM USA skipper Jimmy Spithill turned for the starting line early and found himself with too much time to kill, pushing across the starting line before the start gun and picking up a penalty.

The infraction cost ORACLE TEAM USA a two boat-length penalty and allowed New Zealand to lead by 13-seconds and over 100 meters at mark one.

Early on the first run, Spithill gybed first to get some separation, but the Kiwis were sailing lower and faster on the run leading through the bottom gate by 32-seconds.

The teams split at the leeward marks but New Zealand kept a loose cover on ORACLE TEAM USA upwind, staying between the defender and the next mark. At the top the Kiwis led by 46-seconds and at next bottom mark the lead was still 40-seconds.

The final upwind leg was more of the same, with Team New Zealand sailing from boundary to boundary to minimize maneuvers. Although Spithill and tactician Slingsby were able to split for most of the leg, a favorable puff or shift never materialized and the Kiwis rounded the top mark and sailed downwind to win the first race.

As ORACLE TEAM USA won the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup Qualifiers earlier this month, the Kiwis started the match down by one point. This first win for New Zealand levels the scoreboard at 0-0.

Crew list for Race One:

Skipper / Helmsman -- Jimmy Spithill
Wing Trimmer -- Kyle Langford
Tactician / Grinder -- Tom Slingsby
Grinder -- Louis Sinclair
Grinder -- Kinley Fowler
Grinder -- Ky Hurst


America’s Cup Match – Race Two

In race two it was ORACLE TEAM USA skipper Jimmy Spithill who was on the push in the pre-start, forcing Emirates Team New Zealand towards the starting line. But the Kiwis escaped the push, turning for the starting line just a moment ahead of ORACLE TEAM USA and leading into mark one by just under 5-seconds.

The Kiwis appeared fast downwind on the first run extending to a 23-second margin at the bottom gate.

With a split at the gate, Team New Zealand checked in early, throwing a covering tack on ORACLE TEAM USA and playing it safe up the beat.

The Kiwis extended, but on the second upwind leg, tactician Tom Slingsby found a vein of wind and a favorable shift to close the race right up.

Approaching the top gate, the Kiwis elected to tack directly in front of ORACLE TEAM USA. With Spithill pushing hard from behind to get an overlap, and so little separating the boats, he asked for penalty, but the Umpires declined.

New Zealand was just 3-seconds ahead at the gate. Both boats needed to do quick gybes early on the run, and when ORACLE TEAM USA came off the foils in the maneuver, Team New Zealand ran away for the win.

With the win Emirates Team New Zealand leads the America’s Cup Match 1-0.

Crew list for Race Two:

Skipper / Helmsman -- Jimmy Spithill
Wing Trimmer -- Kyle Langford
Tactician / Grinder -- Tom Slingsby
Grinder -- Cooper Dressler
Grinder -- Kinley Fowler
Grinder -- Graeme Spence

 

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