Please select your home edition
Edition
Southern Spars

Fisher's View- Day 5 ACWS San Francisco - Seriously speedy Sunday

by Bob Fisher on 27 Aug 2012
Oracle Team USA took the Fleet and Match racing titles - America’s Cup World Series San Francisco 2012 August, Final Race Day ACEA - Photo Gilles Martin-Raget http://photo.americascup.com/

Bob Fisher, one of the world's top international yachting journalists, and certainly the top writer on the America's Cup, is in San Francisco, CA, USA for the sixth round of the America's Cup World Series.

Bob is a multihuller from way back, having won the 1967 Little America's Cup, with Peter Schneidau on Lady Helmsman, and has been covering the America's Cup since 1967.

He writes:

Dear Diary – Day 5 - America's Cup World Series - San Francisco, CA, USA

It had to be singularly appropriate that the two home teams, Oracle Team USA - Spithill and Oracle Team USA - Coutts met in the final of the match racing on the Bay. They battled out for the bragging rights in front of a crowd now familiar with them after they had produced much of their training here. It provided a preview for the next twelve months when they will work up for the defence of the America's Cup in the 72-footers, the first of which is scheduled to take to the water this week.

That it should come down to a single match is symptomatic of the ethos of the event. A match is at the core of the Cup competition, as stated in the Deed of Gift, and what better way is there to decide the ultimate victor? This is mano-a-mano, the face-off to culminate these five days of competition which began with eleven teams. In the semi-final matches, Coutts defeated last year's match racing champion, Terry Hutchinson with Artemis Racing -White, while Spithill came from behind to beat Dean Barker and Emirates Team New Zealand.

And what a thriller it turned out to be. The Oracle Team can be justly proud of its two crews with only a second separating the two at the finish. Coutts took the early lead when Spithill went too far to leeward in an effort to shut his rival out at the leeward end of the starting line. Coutts went off with a two-boat length lead and was four seconds up at the first mark.

The boats sped, topping 25 knots, downwind and Spithill picked a shift to go slightly deeper so that when they both gybed, he was ahead and to windward of Coutts. Seven seconds separated them at the leeward gate with Spithill going offshore and Coutts heading for the City Front. The latter move paid handsomely and after the first tack, Coutts crossed ahead and rounded the windward gate with a 15 second lead and stretched that to 26 seconds at the end of the run.

Upwind, Coutts and Spithill went their separate ways again and this time Spithill made the better choice and closed right up to be just six seconds adrift. He then went offshore in search of stronger current, went too far and crossed out of bounds incurring a penalty, but held off from taking it until he was ahead at the final turn.

Coutts dived to leeward and just made it to the front as Spithill slowed to take his penalty. The two boats then battled the short leg to the finish with Coutts one second ahead.

The fleet race might have been expected to be an anti-climax after that; it was anything but. The tension was on from start to finish and the place changing in the fleet was reflected in the overall position for this regatta championship Dean Barker and ETNZ was the first to show at the start, but Hutchinson and Artemis Racing - White was to lead round the mark and start the downhill slide in excess of 23 knots.

Behind him came Luna Rossa - Piranha, skippered by Chris Draper and the Nathan Outteridge steered Team Korea. Things were not going the Oracle Team USA's way - Coutts was penalised on the first leg and Spithill was given one on the run. Artemis Racing - White led to the leeward gate, rounding five seconds ahead of Luna Rossa - Piranha with Team Korea the same distance astern.

Draper headed for the City Front where the crowd was dense, and halfway up the windward leg went into the lead and was eight seconds ahead of Hutchinson around the windward mark followed by Team Korea, Energy Team and the two Oracle boats with Coutts ahead of Spithill. Draper went to the shore, gybed and extended his lead to 200 metres and it seemed that he would emerge as champion.

Spithill gradually came into the reckoning, in third place, and the points were such that he needed second place to win the championship. Draper was heard to say to his crew: 'Don't hurt Korea too much, we need them second.' At the time the boats were going upwind at 14-16 knots in the 20 knot westerly.

Luna Rossa - Piranha rounded the windward gate with a four second advantage over Team Korea with Spithill a further ten seconds in arrears. There was only a short downwind leg to the final turning mark and a tiny reach to the finish to come. Guided by local tactician, John Kostecki, Spithill headed for the shore and came charging towards the final turn as Draper rounded cleanly.

Spithill and Outteridge arrived together with Team Korea having to gybe at the mark. Spithill slid alongside Team Korea and when they were past the mark boat, luffed. Outteridge failed to respond sufficiently and paid the penalty. He slowed and Oracle Team USA - Spithill slipped into second place, crossing the line one second ahead of Team Korea. It gave Spithill the overall championship by one point from Draper in Luna Rossa - Piranha, and a match and fleet double for the home team on Speedy Sunday (and for the first time, the sun shone unremittingly, making the day live up to its name).

Cheers, Bob

PredictWind.comRS Sailing 660x82Southern Spars - 100

Related Articles

America's Cup - Dalton opens up on boat and options for next Cup
The Protocol for the 36th America's Cup will take place in Auckland on the morning of the 29th September Italian media are reporting that the announcement of the Protocol for the 36th America's Cup will take place in Auckland on the morning of the 29th September. Dalton confirmed the details of the yacht will be revealed two months later on November 30, but would not say if it will be a foiling monohull as speculated in the media.
Posted on 18 Sep
Pulling G’s with Beneteau – Pt II
Just a little while ago we pulled some Gs with Beneteau’s Mr Product, aka G3. Just a little while ago we pulled some Gs with Beneteau’s Mr Product, aka G3. You can go back and read Part One of the story of Gianguido Girotti, as and when you may like. However, for now we’ll push on with the incredible semi-foiler Figaro 3, and the new Oceanis 51.1, along with what they represent for the brand as a whole. It is a very interesting tale, especially as Beneteau...
Posted on 31 Aug
JATO ignited as SuperFoiler prepares for take off (Pt II)
When we left SuperFoiler last time, the JATO rockets had been lit, and we were rapidly approaching the time for rotation When we left SuperFoiler last time, the JATO rockets had been lit, and we were rapidly approaching the time for rotation (lift off). You can catch up with Part One of SuperFoiler and the JATO rockets, but for now we get to talk speed, the crew on board, and finally the commercialisation of it all. Buckle up!
Posted on 28 Aug
Pulling G’s with Beneteau – Pt I
In a car, just the one G will have you straining at your seatbelt. In a car, just the one G will have you straining at your seatbelt. Over nine (+ve) in an aircraft, and without a G-suit, you will be unconscious. So at three G’s, and pulling no punches with them either, we not only enjoyed our opportunity to sit with Gianguido Girotti (G3), we got to learn a lot as well!
Posted on 23 Aug
JATO ignited as SuperFoiler prepares for take off (Pt I)
When small military transports have to take off from impossibly short runways with a belly full of cargo When small military transports have to take off from impossibly short runways with a belly full of cargo akin to Mr. Creosote, they reach for the JATO bottles. Aircraft like C-7 Caribous and LC130 Hercules strap rockets, yes rockets, to the underside of their wings to gain valuable extra thrust, which surely helps keep the pilots' heart rates below the red line.
Posted on 22 Aug
A Q&A with the RORC’s Nick Elliott about the 2017 Rolex Fastnet Race
I caught up with Nick Elliott, RORC Racing Manager, via email, to learn more about the world-famous Rolex Fastnet Race. When one stops to consider the world’s best ocean races, the Royal Offshore Racing Club’s Rolex Fastnet Race, which starts on Sunday, August 6, 2017, is never far from mind. I caught up with Nick Elliott, RORC Racing Manager, via email to learn more about the race’s history and evolution, its challenges, and the amount of work that goes into pulling off this world-famous regatta.
Posted on 1 Aug
Ian Walker - Musto Ambassador on the Volvo Ocean Race, America's Cup
Ian Walker on his Volvo Ocean Race win, why food and clothing are so important offshore, his views on the America's Cup We speak to Musto ambassador Ian Walker about his Volvo Ocean Race win, why food and clothing are so important offshore, his views on the America's Cup, his new desk job, sailing for fun, and 20 years of the John Merricks Sailing Trust.
Posted on 23 Jul
Black Jack Yachting. Bigger boat. Bigger team. Even bigger performance
Throughout the iterations of maxis called Black Jack, a strong, consistent and talented team has been their focus Throughout the iterations of maxis called Black Jack, a strong, consistent and talented team has been their focus. Some were sail makers, like Skipper Mark Bradford and also Vaughan Prentice from North Sails’ Brisbane loft. Others were riggers, such as Bruce Clarke, and there are even boat builders, like Gary van Lunteren, as well as Ash Deeks.
Posted on 20 Jul
Gladwell's Line - America's Cup returns to its new home and thinking
Emirates Team New Zealand's win in the 35th America's Cup ends 17-years of wandering in the AC wilderness Emirates Team New Zealand's win in the 35th America's Cup ends 17-years of wandering in the AC wilderness and will open a new era of America's Cup, New Zealand and World Sailing. A rookie crew won the most prestigious trophy in sailing, and one of the most difficult to win in any sport.
Posted on 29 Jun
SuperFoilers Are Go!
SuperFoilers represent many things. Whilst those components are disparate and virtually from different planets SuperFoilers represent many things. Whilst those components are disparate and virtually from different planets in the great scheme of things, they come together in the one form as harmoniously as a Rolls Royce, and also deliver intense energy way past the sum of their parts, just like some amazing band.
Posted on 28 Jun