by Tim Jeffery
The America’s Cup World Series Venice is now underway and Oracle Team USA Spithill has advanced to the semifinal round by winning its quarterfinal match 2-0 on what was a disappointing opening day’s racing on the fifth round of the AC World Series.
ACWS Venice / Oracle Team USA Spithill / Racing Day 1
Jimmy Spithill’s crew placed seventh after the first two fleet races and Darren Bundock’s crew eighth.
Racing off Venice’s Lido, with the city of Venice in the background on one side and the snow-capped Alps on the other, two fleet races were held to open the series that runs through Sunday. Illustrative of the tightness of the fleet, eight points separate the top seven in the standings.
Afterwards the first round of match racing was held with the four quarterfinal matches decided by scores of 2-0.
Oracle Team USA skipper Spithill and his crew advanced to the semis by beating Luna Rossa – Swordfish, helmed by Paul Campbell-James. Spithill placed 8-4 in the fleet racing and holds seventh in the standings with 10 points, eight points behind France’s Energy Team, with legendary Loïck Peyron back on the helm.
'We just made too many mistakes, it’s simple as that,' said Spithill. 'We’ll be candid about it tonight and make sure we learn everything we can from it. We’ve got to be better than this on the first day. We battled back at the end, and that was good, you’d expect that from our guys. But the real test will be tomorrow.'
Oracle Team USA Bundock is placed eighth in the fleet racing standings with seventh points. In the match racing, Bundock and crew were knocked out in the quarterfinals by Peyron and Energy team.
'The first race we had a good start and led, so that was pleasing,' said Bundock. 'Then we had a lot of handling errors, we definitely have problems with the roller furling system – it’s not furling properly. We’re getting to the windward mark and can’t hoist the sail because it’s not furled properly. Our shore crew will be looking at that tonight and they’ll have it right for tomorrow.'
Earlier today the team was part of the presentation of the Red Bull Youth America's Cup – a new competition aimed to give 19-23 year olds a clear path to the America's Cup.
The announcement was made in Venice, ahead of the day’s racing program, and later in San Francisco, where a fully Red Bull-branded AC45 was the center of attention in Union Square.
Red Bull also joins the Oracle Team USA family of partners, marked by the distinctive Red Bull helmets the sailors now wear.
'Red Bull has come on as a team sponsor, but it shows how switched on they are that they want to focus on the Red Bull Youth America’s Cup,' Spithill said. 'They’re the best brand for that and I am really excited. Now, for the first time, I can say to youngsters asking how you get into the America’s Cup that there’s a clear path.'
America’s Cup World Series – Venice Fleet Racing Standings Day One:
Team (Country) R1-R2 – Total
1. Energy Team (FRA) 3-1 – 18 points
2. Luna Rossa Swordfish 4-2 – 16
3. Team Korea (KOR) 1-6 – 16
4. Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL) 6-3 – 13
5. Artemis Racing (SWE) 2-7 – 13
6. Luna Rossa Piranha 5-5 – 12
7. Oracle Team USA Spithill (USA) 8-4 – 10
8. Oracle Team USA Bundock (USA) 7-8 – 7
9. China Team (CHN) 9-9 – 4
(Scoring: 1st place = 10 points, 2nd = 9, 3rd = 8, 4th = 7, 5th = 6, 6th = 5, 7th = 4, 8th = 3, 9th = 2)
Match Racing Championship – Qualifying and Quarter Final Results:
Qualifier 1: Oracle Team USA - Bundock defeated China Team
QF 1: Oracle Team USA - Spithill defeated Luna Rossa – Swordfish; 2-0
QF 2: Luna Rossa - Piranha defeated Team Korea; 2-0
QF 3: Artemis Racing defeated Emirates Team New Zealand; 2-0
QF 4: Energy Team defeated Oracle Team USA – Bundock; 2-0
Oracle Team USA website
America's Cup website