SAN FRANCISCO, CALIF. – th the sun setting beyond the Golden Gate Bridge, ORACLE TEAM USA wrapped up the first day of racing at the America’s Cup World Series San Francisco on Thursday, Oct. 4. ORACLE TEAM USA SPITHILL and ORACLE TEAM USA COUTTS join Artemis Racing – Red in a three-way tie for second place with three more days of racing remaining on the schedule.
ORACLE TEAM USA SPITHILL, skippered by Jimmy Spithill, opened with an eighth-place finish in the first of two fleet races on the day. The crew bounced back in the second race, starting strong off the line and extending to finish 37 seconds ahead of second-place Artemis Racing – White.
“We got off the line badly and just got caught up in the pack in the first race. The second, we got off the line fine and were able to extend away,” Spithill said. “It’s early in the regatta, so we still have time to get it together. We didn’t sail well and made too many mistakes around the track, and we paid for it. But, it was good to see the boys dig deep – they were fired up – and get the result in the second race. It really comes down to the team that sails well. Ben [Ainslie] did a fantastic job and he deserves to be leading the day.”
Helmsman Russell Coutts guided ORACLE TEAM USA COUTTS to two solid starts, as they finished third in the first fleet race and fifth in the second. Coutts’ crew featured a new mix, including Tom Slingsby, who returns to the team after winning a gold medal in the Laser class at the London 2012 Olympic Games; and Rome Kirby, who made his America’s Cup World Series racing debut.
“We had a big opportunity at the start of the race, and it’s a little disappointing – could have had a top three result in the second race as well,” Coutts said. “We have three more days to go, and third and fifth are two keepers. You can’t afford a mistake in this format – you lose one race and you’re out. But, it’s good; it adds pressure, it adds importance. We have to come out fired up tomorrow.”
J.P. Morgan BAR with Ben Ainslie at the helm leads the fleet standings with 21 points. ORACLE TEAM USA SPITHILL, Artemis Racing – Red and ORACLE TEAM USA COUTTS follow with 16 points apiece.
Friday’s racing schedule opens with the first two match races of the regatta for the two ORACLE TEAM USA boats. Coutts faces Artemis Racing – Red at 4:05 pm local; Spithill and crew are matched up against J.P. Morgan BAR at 4:22 pm. The third and fourth fleet races follow at 4:50 pm and 5:30 pm. This week’s ACWS is being held in conjunction with Fleet Week, and celebrations are taking place throughout the day on Marina Green.
The week’s racing will be broadcast live on the America’s Cup YouTube channel. NBC will broadcast the “Super Sunday” fleet racing final live nationwide on Sunday, Oct. 7. Racing on Thursday, Friday and Saturday will be broadcast by the America’s Cup regional media partner NBC Bay Area on its digital channel California NonStop (channel 186 on Comcast and 11.2 on over-the-air digital).
The same 11 boat-fleet returns from the August ACWS event, including: Luna Rossa Piranha (Chris Draper), Team Korea (Peter Burling), Energy Team (Loick Peyron), Luna Rossa Swordfish (Iker Martinez), Artemis Racing – White (Terry Hutchinson), Emirates Team New Zealand (Dean Barker), Artemis Racing – Red (Nathan Outteridge), J.P. Morgan BAR (Ben Ainslie) and China Team (Phil Robertson).
ORACLE TEAM USA SPITHILL – Jimmy Spithill (helmsman), Dirk de Ridder (wing trimmer), John Kostecki (tactician), Joe Newton (headsail trimmer), Jonathan MacBeth (bowman).
ORACLE TEAM USA COUTTS – Russell Coutts (helmsman), Sam Newton (wing trimmer), Tom Slingsby (tactician), Rome Kirby (headsail trimmer), Piet van Nieuwenhuijzen (bowman).
2012-13 ACWS – SAN FRANCISCO – ROUND 2
Team (Country): R1, R2 – Total
J.P. Morgan BAR (GBR): 1(12), 3(9) – 21
ORACLE TEAM USA SPITHILL (USA): 8(4), 1(21) – 16
Artemis Racing Red (SWE): 4(8), 4(8) – 16
ORACLE TEAM USA COUTTS (USA): 3(9), 5(7) – 16
Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL): 2(10), 8(4) – 14
Artemis Racing White (SWE): 10(2), 2(10) – 12
Energy Team (FRA): 6(6), 7(5) – 11
Team Korea (KOR): 5(7), 9(3) – 10
Luna Rossa Piranha (ITA): 9(3), 6(6) – 9
China Team (CHN): 7(5), 10(2) – 7
Luna Rossa Swordfish (ITA): 11(1), 11(1) – 2
(Scoring: 1st place = 12 points, 2nd = 10, 3rd = 9, 4th = 8, 5th = 7, 6th = 6, 7th = 5, 8th = 4, 9th = 3, 10th = 2, 11th = 1)