Tuesday, 23 April 2013
by Lisa Ramsperger
HS Racing completed a successful four-day premiere at the America´s Cup World Series 2013, crossing the line in eighth place in Naples, Italy, after a penalty at the very finish on the super final on Sunday. It may have ended their chances of a top result but did not spoil a successful debut in the series. Luna Rossa Swordfish clinched overall victory after a fleet racing finale win. HS Racing’s double Olympic champions Roman Hagara and Hans Peter Steinacher are now off to China on Friday for their third stop on the Extreme Sailing Series (Quingdao May 2-5) to defend their overall lead in the multihull series (eight races).
“It was a lot of fun today and even though we were blocked at the start by Ben Ainslie, we managed to catch up very well. Our tactics were very good,” said Hagara after the Super Sunday races and his team’s solid performance. They were penalized, however, twice at the final buoy to lose valuable ground. “We had to let Team New Zealand through. We allegedly maneuvred too close to them and we obstructed them,” said tactician Steinacher, shaking his head.
ORACLE TEAM USA, who beat Luna Rossa in the match race championship, were forced to concede defeat to the Italians in the overall standings of the fleet race. It was a day of constant changes at the top with winds of 15 knots shuffling the leaders throughout the day. Energy Team (FRA) looked to be en route for an overall win before a fourth place finish in the race saw them end up in fourth place in the overall standings.
For HS Racing, however, Naples was a positive result after four days of racing. “The integration into the Oracle team worked perfectly,“ said Hagara. “We competed as a closely-knit unit. You cannot expect to instantly beat the teams that have been sailing the same boats for two years. Even Sir Ben Ainslie failed to finish on the podium in his debut last year. We were missing some training sessions. Our meeting with Russell Coutts today was good and I think we left a positive impression.”
Hagara and Steinacher will be sailing from May 2-5 in the Olympic waters of Quingdao (China) on the third stop of the Extreme Sailing World Series while also acting as sports directors of the Red Bull Youth America´s Cup (September 2013). “We have very clear targets for 2013 that will push us higher in the big boat sport. Nothing has changed for us since our first race together. We want to win whatever the boat or the series,” said Hagara.
The U.S.-flagged HS Racing competed 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.