At the America’s Cup World Series, sailing on a relatively calm Bay of Naples, Oracle Racing Bundock advanced to the semifinal round of the ACWS Naples Match Racing Championship by defeating stable mate Oracle Racing Spithill.
The two crews have spent hours training and testing against each other on San Francisco Bay, where the America’s Cup will be staged in 2013. Today the friendly rivalry turned fierce with the added dimension of points for the ACWS Overall Championship at stake.
'I suppose we can thank the shore crew for the victory against Jimmy,' said skipper Darren Bundock. 'We’re very happy to walk away with the win from that one. I guess it’s all that training they’ve given us the past couple months.'
That Bundock’s boat No.5 even made the start was a testament to the Oracle Racing Shore Team. In yesterday’s racing the No.5 boat was damaged in the rough seaway when a crack developed around a deck hatch.
The shore team, led by Andrew Henderson and including 'The Three A’s' – Andrew Walker, Aaron Hunter and Andrew Rhodes – pulled an all-nighter to complete the repair job, which required grinding, new core sections and laminating.
No one was quite certain if the boat would be ready until the heat guns were turned up at full blast about an hour before the start of the race to accelerate the laminate curing process.
'Lucky for us the shore crew did a fantastic job overnight. They had four repairs to make: two cracks in the hull and a little damage from a RIB when we came dockside,' said Bundock. 'Probably an hour before the race start they still had the heat guns going to set the carbon off. It was all touch and go, but lucky for us they got us out there.'
Besides the four cracks on Oracle Racing Bundock, the shore crew also had to repair some broken frames in Spithill’s wingsail.
'It just wasn’t an issue,' said Spithill. 'It goes to show, I think we have best shore team here. It gives you confidence knowing they can get both boats out there, full credit to them.'
The victory puts Oracle Racing Bundock into the match racing semifinals where the crew will race Luna Rossa Piranha, steered by Chris Draper, with the winner advancing to the match racing final. Oracle Racing Spithill is assigned seventh place for the match racing championship. Under the new regatta format, you must win to advance.
The match racing was followed by two fleet races of 30 to 40 minutes. Oracle Racing Spithill placed 7-4 and holds second for the fleet racing championship behind Emirates Team New Zealand. Oracle Racing Bundock placed 4-8 and holds seventh in the standings after having to sit out yesterday’s second fleet race due to the hull damage.
Spithill said the crew battled all day: 'We really want to pride ourselves on being consistent, and today we really weren’t. That is sport, but we have to learn from it and move forward. There’s plenty of racing left, we just have to come out tomorrow firing.'