AC World Series San Diego - Oracle's Spithill makes semi-finals

Team Korea, Oracle Racing and Emirates Team NZ - America’s Cup World Series San Diego 2011
The America’s Cup World Series is currently underway in San Diego and held three races today one of which was forty minutes, the other two were twenty minutes apiece. The fleet took to the water amid ten to twelve knot breezes with plenty of shifts which offered great opportunity for passing.

Oracle Racing Spithill took full advantage of those opportunities to place third on the day with 22 points on finishes of 5-4-2. France’s Energy Team won the day with 24 points.

'It was a nice challenging race track. It wasn’t obvious where to go. I thought we were quick today, especially downwind,' said skipper James Spithill, whose crew advances to the semifinal round of the match racing championship.

Spithill and crew used their speed to absorb critical blows such as penalties, early starts and even a tangled gennaker. They regularly fought their way out of trouble.

'You either learn how to fight or you get punched around,' said Spithill, who uses boxing as a form of physical training. 'With the gennaker we just pushed it too hard into the leeward mark. At the end of the day I thought our crew work was pretty good, but we have to get off the start line better.'

Oracle Racing Coutts, skippered by Darren Bundock, placed sixth with 18 points. His crew’s performance illustrated how quickly fortunes turned on the day.

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Bundock and crew came out blazing in the first race, nailing the start and winning by 51 seconds, the largest margin of the day. In Race 2, however, Oracle Racing Coutts was penalized for a pre-start infraction and could only claw back to eighth. The crew then finished sixth in Race 3.

'The day started off great but then seemed to go downhill from there,' said Bundock. 'We had a perfect start in the first race and the worst start in the second race: hero to zero stuff.

'We were really psyched in that first race but at the end of the day we didn’t do as well as we’d hoped. The reaching start is tricky,' Bundock said.

Oracle Racing Coutts returns to the water tomorrow to contest the match racing Qualifier Round where the crew will meet Green Comm Racing, the combined Spanish/Italian entry, in a one race sail-off with the winner advancing.

'Tomorrow is match racing so the start won’t be as crowded,' Bundock said. 'We showed if we can get off the start line we can extend away.'

Oracle Racing Spithill is next scheduled to race in Friday’s semifinal round against rival Emirates Team New Zealand. The two crews will sail a best-of-three match with the winner advancing to Saturday’s final.

Hi-tech: Operations unit controllers check search pattern maps while trying to find a missing yacht off the coast of Massachusetts, from the command center at the U.S. Coast Guard district headquarters in Boston. - Has the Cheeki Rafiki been found? Debris spotted by volunteers in Atlantic near where yacht carrying British sailors disappeared
© PA

After today’s racing the first AC500 Speed Trials of the event were held. Oracle Racing Spithill placed second with a speed of 21.1 knots and Oracle Racing Coutts third at 19.86 knots.

America’s Cup World Series Overall Standings:

Team (Country) Match – Fleet — Total
1. Energy Team (FRA) 3 – 5 – 1— 24 points
2. Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL) 2 – 3 – 5 — 23
3. ORACLE Racing Spithill (USA) 5 – 4 – 2 — 22
4. Artemis Racing (SWE) 7 – 1 – 4 — 21
5. Team Korea (KOR) 4 – 2 – 8 — 19
6. ORACLE Racing Coutts (USA) 1 – 8 – 6 — 18
7. Green Comm Racing (ESP) 8 – 9 – 3 — 14
8. Aleph (FRA) 9 – 6 – 7 — 12
9. China Team (CHN) 6 – 7 – 9 — 12
(Scoring: first = 10 points, second = 9, third = 8, fourth = 7, fifth = 6, sixth = 5, seventh = 4, eighth, ninth = 3)

Oracle Racing Website