At the America’s Cup World Series in Naples, Oracle Team USA opened the first day of racing with split results in the first two fleet races. Helmsman Tom Slingsby and crew finished second in the first race, and they crossed the line in sixth position in the second race to sit fourth with sixteen points in the overall regatta fleet race standings.
'Today could have been better, could have been worse,' Slingsby said. 'We had a good first race, got off to a nice start and had a good lead. Unfortunately, I didn't see one of the boundaries and got a penalty. We ended up finishing second.
'Our first race in the AC45s and we finished second,' he continued. 'It was a really nice confidence-builder, and we know if we get away we're pretty hard to catch.'
Nine boats were on the line for fleet racing in the Bay of Naples for the start of the four-days regatta as crowds lined the waterfront. Winds were blowing around 12 knots at the gun, but the breeze remained split along the course throughout the day, creating challenging conditions for tacticians.
In the first of fleet race, Slingsby was off the line strong to open up an early lead on Emirates Team New Zealand and round the first two gates on the top position. On the third leg, Oracle Team USA touched the boundary line to force a penalty, and ENTZ moved ahead. The top two spots held through the finish, with Slingsby crossing the line in second.
For the second fleet race, Oracle Team USA was late on the start and rounded the first two gates in eighth place. The crew made up ground on the final two legs to finish sixth.
'Race 2, we had a tough start,' Slingsby said. 'We were early to the line and were too close to build speed. So we had a bad start and from there were always playing catch-up. We managed to get three boats, and every point counts.
'We've got the speed, we've got a good crew, so there's no reason why we can't have a good result,' he said looking ahead to Friday’s races.
JP Morgan BAR, skippered by Ben Ainslie, leads the fleet race standings after the first two races, with ENTZ second and Luna Rossa Piranha third.
Oracle Team USA will face HS Racing in their first match race of the regatta on Friday. Racing begins at 14:22 local CET / 5:22 PT for the crew. HS Racing defeated China Team on Thursday to advance to the quarters. The entire fleet will then be on the line for the third and fourth fleet races of the regatta.
Racing will be streamed live on YouTube worldwide (subject to territorial rights agreements) beginning at 14:00 local time (CEST) each day.
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 Slingsby (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
Team (Country): R1, R2, R3, R4, R5, R6, R7 – Total
J.P. Morgan BAR (GBR): 3(9), 1(12) - 21
Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL): 1(12), 4(8) - 20
Luna Rossa Piranha (ITA): 4(8), 2(10) - 18
Oracle Tean USA Slingsby (USA): 2(10), 6(6) - 16
Energy Team (FRA): 7(5), 3(9) - 14
Luna Rossa Swordfish (ITA): 5(7), 5(7) - 14
Artemis Racing White (SWE): 6(6), 7(5) - 11
China Team (CHN): 9(3), 8(4) - 7
HS Racing (USA): 8(4), 9(3) – 7
(Scoring: 1st place = 12 points, 2nd = 10, 3rd = 9, 4th = 8, 5th = 7, 6th = 6, 7th = 5, 8th = 4, 9th = 3)
HS Racing d. China Team
JP Morgan BAR d. Energy Team
Luna Rossa Piranha d. Artemis Racing White
Oracle Team USA
by Lisa Ramsperger
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7:15 PM Thu 18 Apr 2013GMT
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