In an entertaining America's Cup World Series San Diego fleet race that lasted 36 minutes, Oracle Racing Spithill dug its way out of the pack approaching the first windward mark and grabbed the lead on the ensuing downwind leg.
The crew sailed away and crossed the finish line with a 40 second winning margin.
Oracle Racing Spithill is crewed by skipper Jimmy Spithill, tactician John Kostecki, wingsail trimmer Dirk de Ridder, headsail trimmer Joe Newton and bowman Piet van Nieuwenhuijzen. Riding aboard as sixth crewmember was team principal Larry Ellison. Yesterday, they won the match racing championship.
With the two victories Oracle Racing Spithill holds second place in the overall standings after three events. Oracle Racing Spithill has totaled 54 points and trails Emirates Team New Zealand by 1 point.
'We really wanted the double. It was a goal of ours when the ACWS started,' said Spithill.
'Today we got off the start line OK and were a little mixed up in the pack going up the first beat, but JK (Kostecki) did a great job setting us up for the windward mark rounding and the boys did a fantastic job from there. We really stretched away and used our boatspeed,' Spithill said.
Oracle Racing Coutts endured a day of mixed fortunes. Before the fleet race skipper Darren Bundock and crew ripped up the 500-meter speed course, completing it in 36.16 seconds at a top speed of 26.87 knots. The time was easily the fastest of the speed trials at the first three ACWS events.
The speed trials are non-scoring, however, and the crew struggled through the fleet race, suffering a penalty and placing ninth.
'We were very inconsistent this week,' said Bundock after his first ACWS event. 'We won the first race on Wednesday and then finished off the last race losing. We’ve got good boatspeed if we can get away from the pack, but we’ve got a bit of work to do to keep pushing Jimmy hard.'
Today’s race illustrated the sheer excitement of the transformed America’s Cup. With the wind blowing between 15 and 18 knots on flat water, the AC45 catamarans lit up San Diego Bay. The 20-degree oscillations kept tacticians on their toes and the pack roundings at the turning gates kept crews working hard.
At the finish of the nine-leg race there were two sets of overlaps. France’s Energy Team beat their compatriots on Aleph by six-tenths of a second and Artemis Racing beat China Team by 1 second after trailing by 2.5 seconds at the reach mark just 45 seconds earlier.
Oracle Racing Spithill now has won four of the six ACWS championships: match racing in Cascais, fleet racing in Plymouth and the double in San Diego. The skipper gave full credit to the team’s sail designers and shore crew.
'Between the shore guys and the sail design guys we had a fantastic setup for racing,' said Spithill. 'We got the full range of conditions here. We came in expecting lighter winds but today the wind was up and the guys were able to sort us out. It’s nice to reward them with the double.' America’s Cup World Series Overall Standings
Team (Country) Match – Fleet — Total Points
1. Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL) 27 – 28 — 55
2. ORACLE Racing Spithill (USA) 26 – 28 — 54
3. Artemis Racing (SWE) 23 – 17 — 40
4. ORACLE Racing Coutts (USA) 18 – 18 — 36
4. Team Korea (KOR) 20 – 16 — 36
6. Energy Team (FRA) 19 – 16 — 35
7. Aleph (FRA) 12 – 19 — 31
8. Green Comm Racing (ESP) 11 – 12 — 23
9. China Team (CHN) 9 – 11 — 20
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