Saturday, 20 April 2013

America's Cup : HS Racing Team to match race ORACLE TEAM USA in Quarter-finals

Image copyright ACEA / Gilles Martin-Raget

by Lisa Ramsperger

HS Racing Team kicked off their America’s Cup World Series with a match race win over Team China on Thursday off the coast of Naples, Italy, to set up a mouth-watering Friday quarter-final against America’s Cup defender ORACLE TEAM USA. In the fleet races, however, it was not smooth sailing for the boat of Austria’s double Olympic champions with four penalties in two races.

“There is no better way to start a regatta“ said tactician Hans Peter Steinacher after their opening victory over Team China who had to give way to HS Racing after a rule violation. Hagara/Steinacher and their crew now meet partner team ORACLE TEAM USA in the last eight. “We face our mother ship. I doubt there will be a team order,” said Hagara, who rates his chances for a semi-final spot. „Nothing is impossible even if we go into the race as outsiders.”

In the fleet races it initially looked to be going the newcomers‘ way. In both races HS Racing rounded the first buoy in third position. “Basically I am satisfied, were it not for those penalties. We had a good start but those penalties were costly,” said Hagara.

Races get under way at 13:45 local on Friday with the quarter-final clashes and two more fleet races on the schedule.

Image copyright ACEA / Gilles Martin-Raget

Ben Ainslie (UK/BA Racing) is leading the standings after the first day, ahead of Emirates Team New Zealand and Luna Rossa (ITA). HS Racing is in eighth place, level on points with Team China.

The U.S.-flagged HS Racing is competing in Naples for the Golden Gate Yacht Club (San Francisco). This was made possible through a partnership with Oracle Team USA. HS Racing has been integrated into the Naples base of the America’s Cup defender.

The Austrians coached ORACLE TEAM USA skipper Jimmy Spithill (AUS) during his triumph at the 32nd America´s Cup. Hagara also steered in Valencia for the America´s Cup TV-Trials following an invitation from Russell Coutts (CEO OTUSA/NZL). Spithill, Coutts and Hagara/Steinacher are currently involved in the launching of the Red Bull Youth America´s Cup 2013, aimed at offering young sailors a direct path to the America’s Cup.

NB This team report is from Thursday, Day 1 of racing. Apologies for the late publication.

America's Cup