AC World Series: ORACLE TEAM USA returns to action in San Francisco

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Thursday, 04 October 2012 17:08

ORACLE TEAM USA begins round two of racing in San Francisco Bay this week with the second America’s Cup World Series in the team’s hometown. The event runs October 2-7, and action for both ORACLE TEAM USA SPITHILL and ORACLE TEAM USA COUTTS opens with the first two fleet races on Thursday, October 4 in San Francisco.

Jimmy Spithill and Russell Coutts will each be at the helm with a combination of familiar crew and new faces. Both will be aiming to defend titles as ORACLE TEAM USA SPITHILL claimed the fleet race overall win and ORACLE TEAM USA COUTTS captured the match racing championship at the first America’s Cup World Series regatta of the season last month in San Francisco.

 

“It will be really tough,” Spithill said of the racing ahead. “We’ve had some fantastic training, but all of the teams are here, they turned up early and have also been out training. The only real hometown advantage we may have is with the fans. Everyone has done enough sailing on the race track now that anyone can win this week.”

Racing with Spithill are three returning crew from the last regatta: Dirk de Ridder (wing trimmer), John Kostecki (tactician) and Joe Newton (headsail trimmer), while Jonathan MacBeth joins the team as bowman.

“We’ve been rotating crews throughout the America’s Cup World Series regattas, and it’s good for the team overall,” Spithill said. “It’s great to expose all the guys to the regatta pressures, put them under the spotlight and under the gun. It helps build our program. And, it’s good to see new guys come in and rise to the occasion.”

Onboard with Coutts, Sam Newton (wing trimmer) returns and Piet van Nieuwenhuijzen (bowman) makes the switch from racing with Spithill. Filling out the crew are Tom Slingsby (tactician) and Rome Kirby (headsail trimmer).

Slingsby will be sailing in his first America’s Cup World Series since capturing a gold medal in the Laser class at the 2012 Olympic Games. Kirby makes his America’s Cup World Series racing debut, having joined the team in early September after sailing onboard PUMA Ocean Racing during the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12.

“We’re mixing it around a bit, and it’s good to bring guys in like Tom [Slingsby] and Rome [Kirby],” said Coutts. “All of the guys have been working hard this week to get ready to go. We’re looking forward to racing again, and it should be a great week in San Francisco.”