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AC World Series: Starting strong in San Francisco

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Friday, 24 August 2012 17:08

ORACLE TEAM USA made the first impression count with a pair of wins in the first two fleet races in front of a home town crowd in San Francisco, Calif. – the first stop in the 2012-13 America’s Cup World Series season. Skipper Jimmy Spithill and crew opened with a win in the match racing quarterfinals, and followed with a first-place finish in the second fleet race. Skipper Russell Coutts led off the fleet racing with a win. ORACLE TEAM USA SPITHILL and ORACLE TEAM USA COUTTS now sit 1-2, respectively, after the first day of fleet racing in their home city.

 

“An awesome day,” said Spithill. “It was a fun race with a lot of opportunities. I thought our maneuvers were flawless, and that it what got us through.

“Every single day is different on the Bay,” Spithill continued. “What you learn after you start sailing out here is that you don’t know it very well. It’s very challenging and you get pushed to the limit, but that’s what is exciting for us. We’ve definitely got some great racing to come over the next few days.”

In the second match race of the day, ORACLE TEAM USA SPITHILL took the start vs. Luna Rossa Piranha and sailed into a controlling position on the course. Spithill and crew held off a second-leg charge by Luna Rossa but never relinquished the lead. They move on to face the winner of the Emirates Team New Zealand v. J.P. Morgan Ben Ainslie Racing match on Saturday at 2:22 PM PDT.

When fleet racing got underway, ORACLE TEAM USA COUTTS accelerated off the start and moved to the front early. Spithill and crew remained close on their stable-mate’s heels, but Coutts held the lead through the seven-leg loop and crossed the line in dominant fashion, finishing at 22:56, 15 seconds ahead of second-place Spithill.

“We found a nice gap, got in there and timed the start well,” Coutts said. “This was a good result and good racing – we were happy with it. It’s a new team, but a good team, capable of doing well and we showed that today.”

Blues skies were peaking through the fog as racing continued for the second of two fleet races on the day. This time it was Spithill’s turn to take the lead. They took the inshore route down leg 2 and rolled over China Team to move to the front. A battle with Aretmis Racing Red late in the race kept ORACLE TEAM USA SPITHILL focused, but they held on to cross the line in first. ORACLE TEAM USA COUTTS closed out fleet race No. 2 in sixth place.

“This is definitely one of the best race tracks in the world,” Spithill said. “And it was great for the spectators – you can hear them every time you come to the beach.”

Racing continues tomorrow, Friday, August 24, with match racing quarterfinals. ORACLE TEAM USA COUTTS will face Energy Team at 2:22 PM PDT. Fleet races No. 3 and No. 4 begin at 2:50 PM PDT. All racing takes place in the San Francisco Bay near the Marina Green.

Tune in to race action throughout the week on the America’s Cup YouTube channel (subject to territorial broadcast restrictions). On television in the U.S., coverage is available Thursday through Saturday in the Bay Area on NBC Bay Area 11.2, and in California on Comcast SportsNet California. The Sunday finale will be broadcast live, coast to coast in the United States, on NBC from 11:30 AM PDT. 

FLEET RACING
Team (Country): R1 (PTS), R2 (PTS) – Total

  1. ORACLE TEAM USA SPITHILL (USA): 2 (10), 1 (12) – 22
  2. ORACLE TEAM USA COUTTS (USA):  1 (12), 6 (6) – 18
  3. Artemis Racing Red (SWE): 6 (6), 2 (10) – 16
  4. Artemis Racing White (SWE): 5 (7), 3 (9) – 16
  5. Team Korea (KOR): 7 (5), 4 (8) – 13
  6. Energy Team (FRA): 4 (8), 7 (5) – 13
  7. Luna Rossa Piranha (ITA): 3 (9), 8 (4) – 13
  8. J.P. Morgan BAR (GBR): 10 (2), 5 (7) – 9
  9. Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL): 8 (4), 9 (3) – 7
  10. Luna Rossa Swordfish (ITA): 9 (3), 10 (2) – 5
  11. China Team (CHN): 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)

MATCH RACING QUARTERFINALS
Match 1: Artemis Racing White d. Luna Rossa Swordfish
Match 2: ORACLE TEAM USA SPITHLL d. Luna Rossa Piranha