J.P. Morgan BAR AC45. Image copyright Guilain Grenier/ORACLE TEAM USA.
by Lucy Harwood
Naples marks the final event of the 2012-13 America’s Cup World Series season. With two events under their belt J.P. Morgan BAR sit in fourth place overall and will look to improve on their second place result from the last event in October 2012.
J.P. Morgan BAR are 49 points from the current season leader ORACLE TEAM USA (Spithill), with Tom Slingsby taking on helming duties for the team at this event. It might seem like a big points gap, but with 40 points on offer for first place during the Super Sunday final race, one small mistake can mean a big difference on the leaderboard. The existing crew from the last event in San Francisco will remain, with one change for Naples, bowman Jan Dekker (RSA) will replace Simeon Tienpont (NED) who will remain in San Francisco to work on the ORACLE TEAM USA AC72 programme.
Racing will take place right by the shore giving the spectators a chance to see these wing sailed catamarans up close as nine teams battle it out for overall victory in Naples. The AC45 is one of the most technologically advanced sailing boats in the world, the fixed wing provides incredible acceleration and speed but they are not an easy ride for the crew onboard.
Simon Daubney, four time winner of the America’s Cup, J.P.Morgan BAR headsail trimmer talks through the realities of racing onboard an AC45, or the slave ship as he refers to it: “You’re hiking out the whole time, and constantly re-adjusting the wing and sails in order to go as fast as possible. For the front three guys these boats are like little slave ships really, they keep everyone pretty busy”.
Practice racing will start on Monday 15th with the Championship Racing starting on April 18th, during the four days of racing the nine teams will compete across both Match and Fleet Racing disciplines. The overall titles for both the Naples event and for the 2012-13 America’s Cup World Series will be decided at this event.
J.P. Morgan BAR. Image copyright Guilain Grenier/ORACLE TEAM USA.
For skipper Ben Ainslie, Naples is an opportunity for the team to secure the teams first win.
“First and foremost we’re really looking forward to getting racing again, it’s going to be interesting to see what kind of conditions we will have in Naples. We’ve been doing some practice sailing in San Francisco, which is predominantly windy, and we might face some lighter conditions in Naples and that means we’ll have to adapt quickly.
We have a crew change with Jan (Dekker) joining us a bowman for this event, I think a lot of teams will have similar changes onboard as they manage the work that continues on the AC72 programmes. The event was a great success last time and everything is very close to the shore so the public will really feel a part of the racing. As a team we made real progress during our last event in 2012, so we really want to build on our performance. This is our last opportunity to show what we are capable of this season so we will be working very hard to achieve an overall podium position at the end of it”.
J.P.Morgan BAR crew list Naples
Ben Ainslie (GBR) – Helm
Simon Daubney (NZL) – Headsail trimmer
Matthew Mitchell (NZL) – Floater
Kyle Langford (AUS) – Wing Trimmer
Jan Dekker (RSA)- Bowman
The nine teams for the America’s Cup World Series Naples are (with skipper and points earned in the 2012-13 season championship):
ORACLE TEAM USA SLINGSBY (Tom Slingsby) – 165 pts.
Luna Rossa Piranha (Chris Draper) – 121
Artemis Racing White (Charlie Ekberg) – 120
J.P. Morgan BAR (Ben Ainslie) – 116
Energy Team (Yann Guichard) – 102
Emirates Team New Zealand (Dean Barker) – 100
Luna Rossa Swordfish (Francesco Bruni) – 71
China Team (Mitch Booth) – 43
HS Racing (Roman Hagara) – 0
J.P. Morgan BAR