At the America’s Cup World Series in Naples, Oracle Racing Spithill rebounded from yesterday’s uneven showing by placing 2-2 in today’s two fleet races. The two seconds achieved in patchy wind conditions helped Oracle Racing Spithill to almost halve the deficit it faced at the end of yesterday. The Spithill crew holds second, five points behind Emirates Team New Zealand (Dean Barker) with six of nine scheduled fleet races completed.
'It was a better day today,' said skipper Jimmy Spithill. 'It was a little bit of a minefield out there, but at the end of the day I thought JK (John Kostecki, tactician) did a good job on the breeze and the boys were solid with the boathandling.'
Naples was expected to be a light-air venue but so far it has served up a mixed bag of conditions. The first day saw choppy seas and winds gusting over 20 knots followed yesterday by sunshine, smooth seas and light winds.
Today the wind blew offshore from the east amid heavy rain at times, turning the racecourse around and creating large windless patches that served to separate the leaders from the rest of the fleet. In the second race there was a four-minute gap from first to fourth and more than six and a half minutes to ninth.
'It was a very, very difficult day, but the biggest thing is to remain calm in those situations,' said Spithill. 'It’s easy to get frustrated; you just have to chip away. Like yesterday, nothing we seemed to do was right, but then we turned it around today and I’m happy with the guys that they bounced back.'
Oracle Racing Bundock scored a 4-6 on the day and holds seventh in the standings with 28 points, the crew’s standing hampered from having to sit out Fleet Race 2 on Wednesday with hull damage.
'We struggled to get off the start line again and were getting bounced around a bit by the other teams,' skipper Darren Bundock said. 'We could see Jimmy and the leaders up at the front, and once again the leaders got further and further away. Once you’re down in the back you get pushed around and you can’t sail your own race. So it’s a bit tough down there.'
Oracle Racing Bundock is set to be on the water early tomorrow as before Fleet Races 8 and 9 are sailed, the semifinal and final of the of the match racing championship will be contested. Oracle Racing Bundock will square off against Italy’s Luna Rossa Piranha (Chris Draper), with the winner advancing to meet either Sweden’s Artemis Racing (Terry Hutchinson) or Luna Rossa Swordfish (Paul Campbell-James) in the final.
Oracle Racing Bundock advanced to the semis yesterday when the quintet knocked their stable mates on Oracle Racing Spithill out of the match race part of the competition.
'Darren doesn’t take team orders very well,' joked Spithill, who at age 30 in 2010 was the youngest skipper to ever win the America’s Cup. 'Our main goal is to see Darren up there on the podium spraying the champagne around. These guys have done a nice job in match race training. They gave it to us yesterday, and there should be some exciting racing coming up.'