On Friday, the first full day of racing at the America’s Cup World Series for Oracle Team USA, the two crews remained in the hunt for the fleet racing championship. Oracle Team USA Spithill also advanced to the match racing semifinals, while Oracle Team USA Coutts was tagged with the loss following a missed mark.
ACWS San Francisco - Oracle Team USA
Skipper Jimmy Spithill and Oracle Team USA Spithill took the early lead against J.P. Morgan BAR and helmsman Ben Ainslie in their quarterfinal match race. J.P. Morgan BAR faced a penalty early in the race after making contact, and Oracle Team USA Spithill remained in control down the race course to win by eight seconds. In both of Friday’s fleet races, Oracle Team USA Spithill gradually improved position to finish sixth and fifth in races No. 3 and 4, respectively.
'It was a mixed day,' Spithill said. 'We’re happy to be back in the semis for match racing – it was a good solid race and a tight battle with Ben. We won this one, but it certainly won’t be the last time we face him.
Spithill later described the crew’s fleet performance: 'We got hammered on the first start, but it was another good test. The guys fought hard, battled around the track, and salvaged a good result. It’s still all up for grabs. We’re looking forward to a good day tomorrow, and it will all come down to Sunday.'
In the first match race on the day, Oracle Team USA Coutts faced Artemis Racing – Red and led off the start, holding position down the course. After the third gate, Artemis was plagued by challenges with their sail, while skipper Russell Coutts and crew appeared to cruise across the finish line. But, the race committee later disqualified Oracle Team USA Coutts for passing the wrong mark at the final gate.
'It looked as though it was the right boat to us – it was confusing,' Coutts said. 'We sailed well in that match race, so it’s disappointing to finish like that. But, you can’t change it. We’ll focus on tomorrow and see if we can do better.'
Oracle Team USA Coutts closed out the day with eighth and seventh-place finishes in the fleet races.
In the overall fleet race standings, Oracle Team USA Spithill sits in fourth place with 29 points, and Oracle Team USA Coutts is tied for sixth at 25. J.P. Morgan BAR leads the fleet with 43.
Match racing finals will highlight Saturday’s schedule. The day starts with two semifinals, and Oracle Team USA Spithill faces Artemis Racing – White in the first match at 4:05 pm. The two teams advancing will then get off the line for the finals to close the day at 6:10 pm. Two fleet races will fill between the matches, beginning at 4:50 pm and 5:30 pm. This week’s ACWS is being held in conjunction with Fleet Week, and an air show and celebration take place earlier in the day on Marina Green.
The week’s racing is 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 11 boat fleet : 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).
2012-13 ACWS – San Francisco, Round 2:
Team (Country): R1, R2, R3, R4 – Total
J.P. Morgan BAR (GBR): 1(12), 3(9), 1(12), 2(10) - 43
Artemis Racing White (SWE): 10(2), 2(10), 2(10), 1(12) - 34
Artemis Racing Red (SWE): 4(8), 4(8), 4(8), 4(8) - 32
Oracle Team USA Spithill (USA): 8(4), 1(21), 6(6), 5(7) - 29
Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL): 2(10), 8(4), 5(7), 6(6) - 27
Energy Team (FRA): 6(6), 7(5), 7(5), 3(9) - 25
Oracle Team USA Coutts (USA): 3(9), 5(7), 8(4), 7(5) - 25
Luna Rossa Piranha (ITA): 9(3), 6(6), 3(9), 10(2) - 20
Team Korea (KOR): 5(7), 9(3), 10(2), 8(4) - 16
China Team (CHN): 7(5), 10(2) , 11(1), 9(3) - 11
Luna Rossa Swordfish (ITA): 11(1), 11(1), 9(3), 11(1) - 6
(Scoring: first place = 12 points, second = 10, third = 9, fourth = 8, fifth = 7, sixth = 6, seventh = 5, eighth = 4, ninth = 3, 10th = 2, 11th = 1)
Match Racing Quarterfinals
Artemis Racing – Red d. Oracle Team USA Coutts
Oracle Team USA Spithill d. J.P. Morgan BAR
Oracle Team USA website