by Bob Fisher
Oracle Spithill took both the Match and Fleet Racing titles from the America’s Cup World Series San Francisco 2012 October, Final Race Day
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.
Day 5 Fleet Racing Finals - America's Cup Cup World Series
Dateline: San Francisco, USA Friday, 5th October 2012
Dateline: San Francisco Sunday 7th October 2012
After yesterday's race programme, no one could doubt that San Francisco Bay is the perfect venue for the America's Cup in catamarans. Huge crowds, many of whom were the result of the spectacular Air Show provided as part of the annual Fleet Week, saw the racing at close quarters with the finishes of the tip of the Peninsular at the end of Yacht Road, fondly known to the cognoscenti as 'Point Lucy,' after Lucy Jewett, a local benefactor to the America's Cup with her late husband, Fritz. Lucy is a member of the America's Cup Hall of Fame Selection Committee.
There is still one dark grey cloud hanging in the air over the Golden Gate YC and it has been since 31st March 2011. It was then that a syndicate led by 'Captain' Charles Kithcart announced its interest in becoming a defence candidate and demanded that Larry Ellison should provide its African Diaspora syndicate with funding similar to that he was providing for Oracle Team USA.
Kithcart has produced no evidence of his claim to use the 'Captain' title, but has convinced a trust fund baby into funding his legal challenges in the US Supreme Court and is using the same law firm that Ernesto Bertarelli used in an effort to try to convince the same Court that CNEV was a properly constituted yacht club to challenge for the Cup and thus give him complete control of the regatta. He was, of course, unsuccessful, but the law firm learned much of the ways of the America's Cup.
The legal costs pile up for both sides as the matter has already been with the Court for more than two months - the quality of the lawyers determines their charges, and these are of the very best for both sides in this matter that concerns the Trust that governs the America's Cup.
This 'cloud' is sulphurous in the extreme and, quite frankly, there is little to no chance of success for the African Diaspora syndicate. It is just a painful reminder of the unnecessary interference that can be caused. The Commodore of the GGYC simply shrugged his shoulders when questioned, saying that he wished it would go away so that his club could concentrate on more important matters.
Super Sunday Fleet Racing Final
Wind: 17 knots at 250 degrees
With the biggest-ever crowd for an America's Cup event of more than half a million gathered along the Bay shores, the start was indeed a sensational affair, and one that the skippers realised was of the greatest importance. Ainslie, the points leader after six races, was penalised in the pre-start. Team Korea led away, but Outteridge in Artemis Racing - White led at the first mark from Coutts, Energy Team and Team Korea with Ainslie ninth.
Downwind Outteridge stretched his lead to 135 metres. At this stage, Emirates Team New Zealand was sixth and held that position into the leeward gate where Outteridge had an eight second lead and Energy Team was penalised. Ainslie rounded eighth.
Outteridge and Burling in Team Korea - training partners for the 49ers - were one and two on the first beat and Ainslie was up to fifth by halfway. Burling was able to cross ahead of Outteridge - the City Front was favoured. Energy Team recovered to second. and Ainslie slipped to tenth.
At the windward mark, Coutts was three seconds ahead of Otteridge, Spithill third Loick Peyron fourth. Spithill moved to second early on the downwind leg. Coutts was 19 seconds in front of Spithill, at the leeward gate, Hutchinson third, Outteridge fourth, Luna Rossa - Piranha fifth, then Energy Team and Ainslie. Ainslie moved up to fifth by halfway up the beat as Spithill went into the lead. At the windward gate Spithill led by 10 seconds with Hutchinson another 15 seconds back and then Ainslie. Spithill finished 17 seconds in front of Coutts and ten seconds more to Artemis Racing - White (Terry Hutchinson) and fourth for BAR.
The win for Spithill broke the points tie with Ben Ainslie, both had 79. Terry Hutchinson's third place in the race was matched by a similar position, on 72 points, in the overall standings. A seventh by Dean Barker produced a fourth overall, one point ahead of Oracle Team USA - Coutts.
It was a perfect result for Jimmy Spithill and his Oracle Team USA crew - they nailed the Match Racing event of Saturday, Super Sunday's race and the overall San Francisco Championship. However he must consider the next step towards AC34 when he will train against Ben Ainslie in the Oracle Team AC-72s.