At the America’s Cup World Series in Naples, Oracle Team USA sailed clean on a choppy Saturday to advance to the match race final. Helmsman Tom Slingsby and crew also sit in second in the fleet race standings heading into Super Sunday’s final race.
Saturday’s racing opened with a matchup between Slingsby and JP Morgan BAR – a team of sailors that is part of the Oracle Team USA roster for the 34th America’s Cup. Following a close cross on the first beat, Slingsby moved ahead of helmsman Ben Ainslie and crew, maintaining a narrow lead as they rounded the marks. They crossed the line 20 seconds ahead of Ainslie.
'We were expecting a close one and that’s what we had,' said trimmer Kinley Fowler. 'It was a pretty hard day out there with the sea state and the wind, so we were focused on getting the boat going as fast as possible the whole time.'
The conditions didn’t get any easier on the Bay of Naples for the fleet races. In the first race, Slingsby moved into second place early behind Emirates Team New Zealand. While keeping close behind, ETNZ remained on top, crossing the line first with Oracle Team USA about 22 seconds behind in second.
Slingsby was off to a slow start in the second fleet race, while ETNZ was in front of the pack early again. After rounding the second gate in seventh position, Oracle Team USA improved to finish fifth in the race.
The stage is now set for Super Sunday and the match race final between Oracle Team USA and Luna Rossa Swordfish, with Francesco Bruni at the helm. Sunday’s fleet race final features bonus point scoring with 40 points on the table for the race winner.
'Our strategy is to win. We’ve just got to go out there and have a really good race,' Slingsby said. 'Personally, my job is not done yet – I want to win tomorrow.'
ETNZ leads the ACWS Naples fleet race standings with 60 points, followed by Oracle Team USA (55) and JP Morgan BAR (52).
Racing begins on Sunday at 14:40 local CET / 5:40 PT for Oracle Team USA with match race final. The entire nine-boat fleet will then be on the line for the last race of the ACWS 2012-13, and the lone fleet race of the day.
Racing will be streamed live on YouTube worldwide (subject to territorial rights agreements) beginning at 14:00 local time (CEST).
The nine boat fleet: Artemis Racing White (Charlie Ekberg), China Team (Mitch Booth), Emirates Team New Zealand (Dean Barker), Energy Team (Yann Guichard), HS Racing (Roman Hagara), J.P. Morgan BAR (Ben Ainslie), Luna Rossa Piranha (Chris Draper), Luna Rossa Swordfish (Francesco Bruni), and Oracle Team USA Slinsgby(Tom Slingsby).
Crew List: Tom Slingsby (helmsman), Sam Newton (wing trimmer), Kinley Fowler (jib trimmer), Rome Kirby (runner), Piet van Nieuwenhuijzen (bowman)
2012-13 ACWS – Naples:
Fleet Racing: Team (Country): R1, R2, R3, R4, R5, R6, R7 – Total
Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL): 1(12), 4(8), 5(7), 3(9), 1(12), 1(12) - 60
Oracle Team U Slingsby (USA): 2(10), 6(6), 1(12), 2(10), 2(10), 5(7) - 55
J.P. Morgan BAR (GBR): 3(9), 1(12), 6(6), 4(8), 4(8), 3(9) - 52
Luna Rossa Piranha (ITA): 4(8), 2(10), 4(8), 5(7), 3(9), 4(8) - 50
Energy Team (FRA): 7(5), 3(9), 2(10), 1(12), DNS(0), 6(6) - 42
Luna Rossa Swordfish (ITA): 5(7), 5(7), 3(9), DNF(0), 5(7), 2(10) - 40
Artemis Racing White (SWE): 6(6), 7(5), 7(5), 7(5), 6(6), 8(4) - 31
HS Racing (USA): 8(4), 9(3), 8(4), 6(6), 8(4), 7(5) - 26
China Team (CHN): 9(3), 8(4), 9(3), 8(4), 7(5), 9(3) - 22
(Scoring: first place = 12 points, second = 10, third = 9, fourth = 8, fifth = 7, sixth = 6, seventh = 5, eighth = 4, ninth = 3)
Luna Rossa Swordfish d. Luna Rossa Piranha
Oracle Team USA Slingsby d. JP Morgan BAR
Oracle Team USA website
by Lisa Ramsperger
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9:22 PM Sat 20 Apr 2013GMT
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