Image copyright ORACLE TEAM USA/ Olaf Pignataro
by Lisa Ramsperger
A win in the match race quarterfinals, followed by first and second-place results in fleet racing, completed a successful day of racing for ORACLE TEAM USA at the America’s Cup World Series in Naples, Italy, on Friday. The crew moves into the lead in the regatta fleet race standings with 38 points and will face JP Morgan BAR in the match race semifinals on Saturday.
“We had two good fleet races and got through to the next round of match racing – sort of an ideal day for us,” said helmsman Tom Slingsby. “I’ve got an excellent crew. We’re gelling really well, confidence is good, everyone’s getting along, and it shows.”
ORACLE TEAM USA sailed a clean race in their first match of the regatta. HS Racing was penalized during the pre-start, opening up the opportunity for Slingsby to lead on the first leg. The crew never relinquished the lead and crossed the line 34 seconds ahead of HS Racing.
Winds were blowing 10 knots at the start of fleet racing on the Bay of Naples. Slingsby rounded the first four gates in second and gradually gained ground to move into the lead down the fifth leg. After rounding Gate 5 in first, ORACLE TEAM USA again held consistent to win the third fleet race of the regatta. The crew finished 19 seconds in front of Energy Team.
The nine-boat fleet was back on the line for the second fleet race of the day. ORACLE TEAM USA crossed the start clean after nearly half of the fleet was penalized for an early jump. Energy Team was around Gate 1 first followed by Slingsby, and the two positions remained the same across the finish. ORACLE TEAM USA finished 27 seconds behind the French crew in second.
“I wanted to keep it pretty clean,” said Slingsby of the match race. “We had a good start, they took the penalty, and from there we were able to hold on and take the win.
“We were very fortunate on each fleet race start because the boat below us was over the line, allowing us a bit more room and a bit more speed. We had two good first legs and two good results,” Slingsby continued.
Following ORACLE TEAM USA in the fleet race standings are Energy Team (36 points) and Emirates Team New Zealand (36). Both match races on Saturday will feature teammates competing. The JP Morgan BAR crew is part of the ORACLE TEAM USA roster for the 34th America’s Cup, and Luna Rossa Piranha will face Luna Rossa Swordfish in the second semifinal.
“The team is starting to tie together really well. We had a few communication issues on the first day and that’s all getting ironed out. I think we’re going to keep improving as well,” said trimmer Kinley Fowler. “We’ve got a pretty tough match race against BAR, which will be good. We’ve done a fair bit of match race training with them recently.”
Racing begins on Friday at 14:05 local CET / 5:05 PT for ORACLE TEAM USA with match race semifinal No. 1. The entire nine-boat fleet will then be on the line for the fifth and sixth fleet races of the regatta.
Racing will be streamed live on YouTube worldwide (subject to territorial rights agreements) beginning at 14:00 local time (CEST) each day.
The nine boat fleet: Artemis Racing White (Charlie Ekberg), China Team (Mitch Booth), Emirates Team New Zealand (Dean Barker), Energy Team (Yann Guichard), HS Racing (Roman Hagara), J.P. Morgan BAR (Ben Ainslie), Luna Rossa Piranha (Chris Draper), Luna Rossa Swordfish (Francesco Bruni), and ORACLE TEAM USA SLINGSBY (Tom Slingsby)
Tom Slingsby (helmsman), Sam Newton (wing trimmer), Kinley Fowler (jib trimmer), Rome Kirby (runner), Piet van Nieuwenhuijzen (bowman)
Team (Country): R1, R2, R3, R4, R5, R6, R7 – Total
ORACLE TEAM USA SLINGSBY (USA): 2(10), 6(6), 1(12), 2(10) - 38
Energy Team (FRA): 7(5), 3(9), 2(10), 1(12) - 36
Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL): 1(12), 4(8), 5(7), 3(9) - 36
J.P. Morgan BAR (GBR): 3(9), 1(12), 6(6), 4(8) - 35
Luna Rossa Piranha (ITA): 4(8), 2(10), 4(8), 5(7) - 33
Luna Rossa Swordfish (ITA): 5(7), 5(7), 3(9), DNF(0) - 23
Artemis Racing White (SWE): 6(6), 7(5), 7(5), 7(5) - 21
HS Racing (USA): 8(4), 9(3), 8(4), 6(6) - 17
China Team (CHN): 9(3), 8(4), 9(3), 8(4) - 14
(Scoring: 1st place = 12 points, 2nd = 10, 3rd = 9, 4th = 8, 5th = 7, 6th = 6, 7th = 5, 8th = 4, 9th = 3)
Luna Rossa Piranha d. Emirates Team New Zealand
ORACLE TEAM USA SLINGSBY d. HS Racing
ORACLE TEAM USA