Profitable first day of practice racing


photo: Ricardo Pinto
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photo: Ricardo Pinto
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photo: Ricardo Pinto
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ORACLE TEAM USA earned two wins from two practice race starts on Monday, but it was the time before, between and following the races that was particularly profitable. 

In near ideal 12-15 knot conditions, tactician and sailing team manager Tom Slingsby says the team was able to test new equipment, configurations and techniques in one of the final line-up opportunities before racing begins in the Louis Vuitton America's Cup Qualifiers on May 26.

The team was on the Great Sound race course area for nearly 8 hours.

"It was a long day out there for us, but we wanted to make the most of it," Slingsby said. 

"We did a couple of races, got a couple of wins and then we did some tuning and tried some different tests, and we got a lot of answers we needed."

Slingsby says the rate of improvement across the fleet is impressive. He thinks the teams are still on the steep slope of the learning curve with big breakthroughs happening.

"We know how much we've stepped up our game from the last race period and we see that everyone else has made a similar step," he said. "The rate of improvement is skyrocketing in this last month. 

"Everyone is putting on all their race kit, the maneuvers are getting better and so the differences between the teams are getting smaller."

As ORACLE TEAM USA reduces its crew rotation, the core group is getting more time on the boat, leading to improved maneuvers.

"We're narrowing in on our race crew now, but I think we still have improvements we can make on our crew work," he said.

"In some ways, I think our boat is a bit similar to the last campaign. It's probably a little bit more difficult to sail, but maybe it has more potential. But by race time, we'll be able to do everything."

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