ORACLE Racing Win in San Diego, But ETNZ Lead ACWS Points

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And now the news. James Spithill won the Match racing and the Fleet Racing at the ACWS in San Diego, but Emirates Team NZ remain on top of the points after three events in the America’s Cup World Series.

Gusts approaching 20 knots on Sunday afternoon, gave the Youtube viewers around the world a drag-race for the fleet event. The race was described by a statement as “full of intrigue”, but compared to Super Sunday at Plymouth, it was a bit of an anti-climax.

ORACLE Racing Spithill, winners on Saturday of the Match Racing Championship, won the Fleet Race fairly comfortably, becoming the first team to secure a double win at the AC World Series. Team Principal Larry Ellison was on board with the team.

Skipper James Spithill said:

“We really wanted to win the double. We started okay, but got mixed up in the pack. But JK (tactician John Kostecki) got us back into it and then the boys did a fantastic job. We were able to stretch away and use our speed.”

Emirates Team New Zealand led the fleet of nine AC45s off the start-line into a tense, action-packed turn at the first mark just a few hundred yards away.

But ORACLE Racing Spithill chose the favored mark at the top and was soon leading the fleet downwind at speeds near 25 knots, slowly extending away from the pack of boats giving chase. Artemis Racing had a near disaster at the bottom mark, their headsail not “deploying” cleanly.

While Spithill moved away from the fleet, Team Korea, Emirates Team New Zealand, Energy Team, and Aleph were locked in a catfight for second place. The advantage was first with Korea and then the Kiwis, but the two were just yards apart for most of the race, until a poor gybe on Korea allowed the Kiwis and both French boat to go past. At the finish, it was Emirates Team New Zealand in second, with Energy Team just one second ahead of Aleph for third, and Team Korea in fifth.

While new boy Darren Bundock struggled in the Fleet Race, he was king of the AC500 Speed Trial. Bundock, skippering ORACLE Racing Coutts, broke the record, with a speed of 26.87 knots.

The teams will now have four months of winter training before the next AC World Series stop in Naples, Italy from April 7 to 15, 2012. Venice, Italy then follows from the 12 to 20 of May, 2012. Whether the ACWS can keep the fan momentum going without any racing remains to be seen.

Regatta Director Iain Murray said:

“The ACWS has grown legs of its own, it has proven itself as a concept. It excites the people, we fit it into the geography of the bays, and creating the stadium sailing means we can broadcast our racing from the inside out. I see the World Series going from strength to strength. The AC72s are starting to be built, teams are getting stronger and more confident. We’re heading towards some great events.”

San Diego Fleet Racing Championship

  • 1. ORACLE Racing Spithill
  • 2. Emirates Team New Zealand
  • 3. Energy Team
  • 4. Aleph
  • 5. Team Korea
  • 6. Artemis Racing
  • 7. China Team
  • 8. Green Comm Racing
  • 9. ORACLE Racing Coutts

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