Wednesday, 15 June 2011

America's Cup : ORACLE Racing brings America’s Cup action to San Francisco Bay

ORACLE Racing in San Francisco. Image copyright Gilles Martin-Raget/

by Tim Jeffery

America’s Cup champion ORACLE Racing sparked the imagination of San Francisco Bay area residents today when it took to the waters of the 2013 host venue in its rapid AC45 multihulls.

It was one of three firsts: first time ORACLE Racing has sailed in its home waters since winning the America’s Cup in Spain 16 months ago; debut of the next-generation Cup boats on the Bay; first on-the-water action after San Francisco was named Host City of the 34th America’s Cup in January.

The team hosted a press conference at Golden Gate Yacht Club and then took members of the media sailing on its wingsailed cats, impressing all who saw them.

“Spectacular San Francisco Bay and extreme boats is the kind of cool sailing I’m interested in,” said Master of Ceremonies Jonny Moseley, the 1998 free-ski Olympic Gold medalist.

ORACLE Racing in San Francisco. Image copyright Gilles Martin-Raget/

ORACLE Racing is now immersed in the hours of on-the-water practice and design development necessary to retain the oldest trophy in international sport.

“Our priorities last year were to create the vision for the next America’s Cup, and then empower the independent America’s Cup Event Authority and America’s Cup Race Management organizations to drive that vision forward,” said ORACLE Racing CEO Russell Coutts. “Now our focus is preparing our defense of the Cup.”

ORACLE Racing skipper James Spithill added: “For us as sailors, the next America’s Cup began in February with the launch of the prototype AC45. These boats are awesome to sail. In San Francisco you’ll get rewarded for pushing the boat hard – unless you go over the limit!”

The AC45 catamaran will be used in the America’s Cup World Series through 2012, before giving way to the AC72 in 2013. The AC45 is a one-design; all parts of the boat are identical. The AC72 will be created independently by each team as they strive to win the Louis Vuitton Cup, America’s Cup Challenger Series, to meet ORACLE Racing in the America’s Cup Finals. The AC72 stands to reach much greater performance levels than the AC45.

“We want fast and dramatic boats that will produce close racing in front of the public and broadcast around the world with cutting-edge TV technology,” added Coutts

ORACLE Racing in San Francisco. Image copyright Gilles Martin-Raget/

ORACLE Racing last sailed its AC45s in May at the America’s Cup pre-season trials in New Zealand. That session was designed to test new racecourse configurations and the new digital race management and television graphics systems.

In San Francisco, the team’s boats will serve as test platforms to allow the race organizers to optimize the pioneering technology ahead of August’s inaugural America’s Cup World Series event in Cascais, Portugal.

“Our short-term goal is to get our crew work race-ready for the America’s Cup World Series,” said ORACLE Racing tactician John Kostecki. “The ACWS will allow fans around the world to enjoy America’s Cup class racing. August will be the first time that ORACLE Racing takes on other teams entered in the next America’s Cup.”

America's Cup