The America's Cup Defender, Oracle Racing (USA) has returned to the host city for a fall training session.
In the last training session in June, coinciding with a Media Week, Team CEO Russell Coutts capsized his AC45 wingsail catamaran in full view of the cameras and produced some video that went around the world's new networks.
The October session isn’t expected to be as windy, as june but the team believes it will provide valuable practice ahead of the next America’s Cup World Series event in San Diego, Nov. 12-20. racing will be held in San Diego Bay and will be a light-moderate air flat water venue - unlike San Francisco.
'This session will be two-fold,' said skipper James Spithill (AUS) 'It’ll provide us an opportunity to practice for San Diego and include some more of our sailors who haven’t had an opportunity to race yet.'
Oracle Racing announced last month that Coutts would be turning over the helm of their second crew to Darren Bundock of Australia. Bundock is a two-time Olympic silver medalist (2000, ’08) in the multihull class and a seven-time world champion. Bundock will take the helm and Coutts will move into more to a tactical role combined with his land-based chief executive’s duties. Bundock previously did a series in the Extreme 40's with Emirates Team NZ. His Olympic crew, Glenn Ashby was with then BMW Oracle Racing for the 33rd America's Cup as coach, before joining Emirates Team NZ as wingman.
In its media release, Oracle Racing revealed that it has now acquired a further two AC45's and would be using these for two boat trialling going into the 34th America's Cup.
This gives the team a total of four AC45's when most of the teams only have one, and are struggling with funding.
The team says that it will be using the two additional AC45 boats, which are built by Oracle Racing's construction arm, Core Builders Composites based in Warkworth, New Zealand, to finalize concepts for the wing and appendages. Construction of the team’s first AC72 is already underway, with tooling created by Core Builders Composites in New Zealand.
'The session also gives us time to meet with the design team guys and settle the key choices for our first AC72,' Spithill said. 'The sailing team is closely involved with the design team in discussing systems, layouts and general characteristics. After the great success of the AC45, we’re very excited about the AC72. It’s going to be awesome.'
A new America's Cup entry is expected to be announced from an Italian team, Luna Rossa - which raced in the 2000, 2003 and 2007 America's Cups - being a Louis Vuitton Cup finalist or semi-finalist in all three events. The announcement from the Italian team will follows with the previous confirmation of four America's Cup World series events to be held in Naples and Venice in 2012 and 2013. The Italians were expected to sail in San Diego except the boat that they could have used had hulls 'redeployed' to other teams who suffered damage in the boisterous Plymouth round of the ACWS last month.
The Luna Rossa announcement will bring the teams up to nine - with a ten boat fleet (given the Defender sails two entries).
Only five teams are expected to progress to build and campaign AC72's ahead of the 34th America's Cup, the remainder will see out the ACWS in AC45's - financiers willing - before the start of the Louis Vuitton Cup in July 2013.
The Downunder venue for the ACWS has not yet been announced. It is understood that Auckland is off the list, and that the leading contender is Southport, Australia.