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America's Cup- It's official - Ainslie on, Kostecki off

by Richard Gladwell on 13 Sep 2013
Ben Ainslie-Kostecki sprints across the trampoline on Oracle Team USA yesterday following Kyle Langford, and with skipper Jimmy Spithill behind him. © Richard Gladwell www.photosport.co.nz

The crew lists released at the International Media Centre have just confirmed that multiple Gold Medalist, Ben Ainslie (GBR) will step into the tacticians shoes aboard, America's Cup Defender, Oracle Team USA.

The move had been rumoured since local hero, John Kostecki, was a no-show at the Media Conference following Race 5. That absence was brushed away by skipper Jimmy Spithill who commented that all teams were rotating their top table at the late afternoon session.

However the intrigue level upped a few notches yesterday, when Ainslie was spotted in Kostecki's role at the back of the boat, as Oracle Team USA went for a training session yesterday, on San Francisco Bay. He was wearing Kostecki's lifejacket, with the name clearly visible.

This morning the team sheets confirmed the rumours.

To date Ainslie has been skippering the Defender's Boat #1. It is not known if he has previously sailed in the tacticians role on board Boat #2 being used in the Defence.

One of the differences between Oracle Team USA and the Challenger Emirates Team NZ is that the setup on the Defender requires the tactician to also be a grinder.

Clearly Kostecki did not have the same opportunities to get his head out of the boat, as Ray Davies, his counterpart on Emirates Team NZ, who is free to concentrate 100% on tactics, strategy and positioning on the course.

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