by Tim Jeffery
America’s Cup World Series – While possessing a ten second lead early on, Oracle Racing Coutts misjudged the optimum course to the leeward gate. Skipper Darren Bundock and crew had to perform an extra maneuver which allowed the crew aboard Aleph to take the lead and extend to an unassailable advantage.
America’s Cup World Series - ORACLE Racing - San Diego - Match racing day 1
'We’re a little disappointed with that race,' said Bundock, skippering his first ACWS event. 'We got off the start line well and were going well but got stuck at the bottom mark. We didn’t quite lay it properly and Aleph had the inside and we had to jibe away.'
The loss followed a solid performance in the crew’s first race of the day versus Green Comm Racing. Oracle Racing Coutts gained the early lead in that race as well and although Green Comm made a comeback halfway through, Bundock extended on the downwind legs to win by 48 seconds.
'We were very happy with that first race,' said Bundock. 'Downwind we feel very strong and solid.'
Oracle Racing Coutts looked strong and solid early in the race against Aleph. But the race came apart soon thereafter.
'Unfortunately we jibed too early on the layline,' said tactician Tom Slingsby, also competing in his first ACWS regatta. 'That opened up the right-hand gate to those guys. They took it and forced us left and it was tough coming back.
'In hindsight, we would’ve waited to jibe until they jibed,' Slingsby said. 'We would’ve been able to choose which mark we wanted and would’ve been fine.'
The race illustrated how quickly fortunes change in the transformed America’s Cup, featuring wingsail multihulls and short-course racing.
'It’s awesome. It’s a huge show,' said Slingsby, the world No. 1-ranked Laser sailor. 'It’s great competition. It doesn’t get any better. Every time you make a mistake you pay for it. I love it.'
Tomorrow Oracle Racing Spithill returns to the water to contest the match racing semifinal round. Skipper James Spithill and crew will square off against Emirates Team New Zealand in a best-of-three match with the winner advancing to Saturday’s final.
Oracle Racing Coutts returns to the water on Saturday when it races the consolation round of the match racing championship.
Earlier today Oracle Racing announced Swiss avant-garde watchmaker TAG Heuer as the team’s Official Watch and Eyewear Partner. Read more here. TAG Heuer CEO Jean-Christophe Babin joined Oracle Racing skipper Jimmy Spithill and CEO Russell Coutts in making the announcement.