Sunday, 21 April 2013
by America's Cup media
The final day of America’s Cup World Series Naples will also wrap the 2012-13 racing season for the global tour. The match racing and fleet racing championships will help determine the overall season champs for the second season of racing.
A large crowd is expected to take in the day’s action, which will be graced with sunny weather and winds similar to the past three days, 8 to 12 knots from the south/southwest.
The day kicks off at 11:00 with the Red Bull Air Show. The pilot is German Air Race Pilot Matthias Dolderer and the show will last around 15 minutes. Tens of thousands of people took in last evening’s show from the America’s Cup World Series Village stretching along the waterfront.
ORACLE TEAM USA (Jimmy Spithill/Tom Slingsby) is virtually assured of repeating as the overall season champion. Spithill opened a 44-point lead over Luna Rossa Piranha after the first two regattas and Slingsby has padded that cushion by an additional 5 points in Naples. With 32 points separating first and ninth in today’s fleet race finale, it would seem an unforeseen catastrophic event is the only thing that could derail Slingsby, who is filling in for Spithill at this regatta.
“I know that on my day I can match all the top guys in the world and beat them,” said Slingsby. “This is my one chance in an America’s Cup World Series. Who knows when the next event will be so I’m trying to make the most of it.”
To win the event championship Slingsby will have to overcome Dean Barker’s Emirates Team New Zealand crew. Barker posted double firsts yesterday and opened a 5-point lead in the fleet racing standings. The Kiwi skipper pointed to two good starts as being the key to success.
“We were over the start line in three of the first four starts,” said Barker. “So to have two starts behind the line yesterday was progress. It just proves the point that if you get a good start you get a chance to win.”
Forty points are available to the winner of today’s race, so in reality any of the top seven – Emirates Team New Zealand (60 points), ORACLE TEAM USA (55), J.P. Morgan BAR (52), Luna Rossa Piranha (50), Energy Team (42), Luna Rossa Swordfish (40) or Artemis Racing White (31) – could mathematically win the event championship.
In the match racing championship, Slingsby leads ORACLE TEAM USA against Francesco Bruni and Luna Rossa Swordfish for the title. The two helmsmen are tacticians for their respective teams, putting an interesting twist in the match up.
“I feel all the training the team did in Auckland over the winter has really paid off,” said Bruni. “I think my match racing steering has improved a lot.”
Today’s live broadcast on the America’s Cup YouTube channel (subject to territorial restrictions) begins at 14:30 CEST (13:30 GMT/08:30 US ET/05:30 US PT). The match racing championship is scheduled to begin at 14:40 CEST and the fleet racing championship at 15:15 CEST.