November 15, 2011
Opening Press Conference with the skippers for the America's Cup World Series in San Diego
November 16, 2011
Energy Team on top as three different teams post wins at the America’s Cup World Series in San Diego
Consistency was the key for the French Energy Team who won the third of three races on Wednesday afternoon to top the table at the end of the seeding races for the San Diego Match Racing Championships at the America’s Cup World Series.
New skipper Yann Guichard posted three race finishes inside the top five to end the day one point clear of Emirates Team New Zealand. ORACLE Racing Spithill, plagued by penalties and starting trouble all day, recovered strongly in each race to hold on to third place.
Those top three teams on today’s ranking are seeded through directly to the Semi Finals of the Match Racing Championship. The remaining six teams will be paired up to race in Thursday’s qualifying matches, competing in a knockout format to earn the fourth and final Semi Final berth.
“It’s a perfect day for us,” said an elated Guichard after racing. “I’m really happy. The team has done a fantastic job. I’m getting more comfortable each day and I can really feel the boat well now. We had some good starts and were very fast today. The small teams like us are improving each day.”
Conditions couldn’t have been better for racing on Wednesday. The winds were in the 9-13 knot range with flat water in San Diego Bay, leading to boat speeds near 20 knots. The sun was out, and it was a warm November day, allowing the sea breeze to build early and stay in force throughout the afternoon.
After the fleet races, the teams brought the show to the crowds perched on Broadway Pier for the AC 500 Speed Trials, which took place just yards from the pier. Emirates Team New Zealand, in the very first run, posted what would stand up as the quickest time down the 500-meter runway. The two ORACLE Racing entries, Spithill and Coutts were second and third respectively. Artemis Racing was in fourth place in both the seeding race standings and the Speed Trials.
“Over all it was a hard day, but it was good the way we battled as it would have been easy to go backwards,” said Artemis Racing skipper Terry Hutchinson. “It is about doing things consistently and working through the process.”
Results are posted here.
Results – AC 500 Speed Trials
Emirates Team New Zealand - 21.22 knots
ORACLE Racing Spithill - 21.10 knots
ORACLE Racing Coutts - 19.86 knots
Artemis Racing - 19.65 knots
Energy Team - 19.36 knots
Team Korea - 19.18 knots
China Team - 18.54 knots
ALEPH - 18.33 knots
Green Comm Racing - 17.91 knots
Artemis Racing shuts the door on Aleph's Fairytale run at the America’s Cup World Series Match Racing Championship
San Diego, California, 17/11/2011
Artemis Racing has advanced into the Semi Final of the AC World Series Match Racing Championship in San Diego, beating a red-hot Aleph team to join the final four. The last match of the day was a cat and mouse affair, the result in doubt until the very end, but finally, Artemis Racing prevailed.
“It was never over, until it was over,” said a relieved Terry Hutchinson, the skipper of the Swedish boat after racing. “It was dicey out there… We had to hang tough. It’s a testament to the team that we were able to get through.”
“We did a good job in both starts, had a nice lead, but it really didn’t count for much,” agreed Artemis tactician Iain Percy, speaking about the conditions. “You don’t always get dealt a good hand.”
The day dawned with a thick fog enveloping San Diego Bay but it had burned off by mid-morning, allowing a light 7-10 knot sea breeze to build. By early afternoon however, the fog settled in again, dropping the temperature and keeping the wind light and shifty in the bay.
Aleph skipper Pierre Pennec led his crew into battle five times on Thursday (although only four counted), bullying his way through the fleet from the lowest seeded pair. After dispatching China Team, Team Korea and ORACLE Racing Coutts, Aleph ran out of magic in the match against Terry Hutchinson and Artemis.
The final result was heartbreaking for Aleph, who saw the first attempt at the match against Artemis Racing abandoned just as Pennec and crew had overcome an early penalty to take the lead. An external technical issue had caused the race course boundaries to disappear, affecting the race on the water and giving the Race Committee no choice but to abandon the contest.
In the second start sequence for the match, Hutchinson and crew were again able to put a penalty on to Aleph in the pre-start, gaining an early advantage they would need to fight to protect all the way around the course. The final race was sailed in extremely light, variable and shifty winds, meaning the early lead Artemis Racing had built was never safe. In fact, on the final upwind, Aleph drew even during one cross, passing just inches behind, but Hutchinson held his nerve, and protected his narrow advantage to the finish.
“We were leading in the first match before it was abandoned,” said an exhausted Pennec, after completing his full dance card of races. “In the second start we had a penalty, but we did well with the windshifts to match them right up to the last mark, so it was a good day for us. I really wanted to beat Artemis, but it’s normal (they’re a strong team, higher ranked).”
By losing the opening match to Aleph, China Team finishes in ninth place. The other teams to fall today, Green Comm Racing, Team Korea, ORACLE Racing Coutts and Aleph will race again on Saturday for places eight through five. On Friday, the four Semi Finalists will race in ‘best of three’ matches.
Results – San Diego Match Racing Championship – Qualifying Matches
Q1. Aleph beat China Team
Q2. ORACLE Racing Coutts beat Green Comm Racing
Q3. Aleph beat Team Korea
Q4. Aleph beat ORACLE Racing Coutts
Q5. Artemis Racing beat Aleph
Artemis Racing qualifies for the Semi Finals joining Energy Team, Emirates Team New Zealand, and ORACLE Racing Spithill each of whom previously qualified via the seeding races on Wednesday.
Friday's Semi Final Matches (first to two)
SF1. Emirates Team New Zealand vs. ORACLE Racing Spithill
SF2. Energy Team vs. Artemis Racing
Last edited by MLovett; 11-18-2011 at 09:21 AM.
November 19, 2011
ORACLE Racing Spithill to meet Energy Team in Final of San Diego Match Racing Championship at America’s Cup World Series
Both Semi Final pairings saw convincing 2-0 sweeps for the winners, as ORACLE Racing Spithill and Energy Team advanced to the Final of the Match Racing Championship at the America’s Cup World Series.
The first Semi Final pairing featured two heavyweight teams – Emirates Team New Zealand and ORACLE Racing Spithill who came into the regatta as the top ranked crews on the World Series leaderboard.
On Friday, it was Spithill’s team who won the first race in the pre-start, pushing the New Zealand boat over the starting line early and then leading the Kiwis around the race track after they paid off their start penalty. The second match was closer, with Dean Barker’s Kiwis winning the start before Spithill escaped a tight New Zealand covering position to find a pleasing wind shift on the left side of the race course to move into the lead. With team principal Larry Ellison on board for both races, Spithill and crew swept their way into the Final.
“The guys did a fantastic job,” Ellison said, after joking that he was disappointed he hadn’t been asked to steer. “We sailed the boat really well… two classic match racing maneuvers - in the second race breaking cover in a tacking duel and in the first race forcing them over the line in the pre-start. So some fabulous match racing.”
“We didn’t sail very well,” said a disappointed Dean Barker. “We led one race, we should have won that, but just sailed badly. We just didn’t gel today from the very first start. We just had a bad day.”
In the second Semi Final, Energy Team trailed early in both races before using a similar passing move on the first downwind leg. With Artemis Racing leading the two boats towards the course boundary, new Energy Team skipper Yann Guichard was able to gybe his boat inside the Swedish challenger in both races, each time getting a favorable puff of wind at a critical moment to power ahead of Artemis to make the pass. From there, Energy Team extended in each contest to advance to the Match Racing Final on Saturday.
“The goal was not to take any risks on the start today,” Guichard explained. “After the start, we were very confident in our speed and tactics. So we started just behind but in a position to pass on the first gybe… Then, the wind was very shifty and sometimes we were a little lucky, but a great day. I’m so happy for the team.”
In contrast, Artemis Racing skipper Terry Hutchinson could only take solace in his team’s overall sailing performance, if not the result.
“If the guy behind gets some more wind and you don't, then that's the advantage of being behind. But I'd always take being in the lead first. Other than the finish line, I was happy with about 80 percent of the day. But the 20 percent I'm unhappy with, there's a lot of room for improvement. We have some great sailors on our team and we have to keep on working on it."
Friday was Healthy Ocean Day at the America’s Cup World Series in San Diego, featuring a full day of public programming as part of its global ocean awareness program.
The America’s Cup Healthy Ocean Project Hall features hands-on exhibits from leading ocean conservation educational organizations such as San Francisco’s Exploratorium and Scripps Institution of Oceanography, as well as the Washed Ashore educational touring art exhibit focused on marine plastic debris. While on Friday, the main stage featured a multimedia presentation from leading oceanographer Dr. Sylvia Earle and other ocean healthy advocates.
Results – San Diego Match Racing Championship – Semi Final Matches
SF1 – Match 1. ORACLE Racing Spithill beat Emirates Team New Zealand
SF1 – Match 2. ORACLE Racing Spithill beat Emirates Team New Zealand
ORACLE Racing Spithill wins SF1, 2-0
SF2 – Match 1. Energy Team beat Artemis Racing
SF2 – Match 2. Energy Team beat Artemis Racing
Energy Team wins SF2, 2-0
Saturday’s program (racing starts with a warning signal at 1305 PST)
Green Comm Racing vs. Team Korea (7th/8th)
Aleph vs. ORACLE Racing Coutts (5th/6th)
Emirates Team New Zealand vs. Artemis Racing (3rd/4th)
Finals – Energy Team vs. ORACLE Racing Spithill (first to win two)
November 20, 2011
ORACLE Racing Spithill Takes the Double, Winning Today’s Fleet Racing Championship at the America’s Cup World Series in San Diego
San Diego saved the best for last, testing the international America’s Cup World Series fleet with the strongest winds of the week, with gusts approaching 20 knots on Sunday afternoon, making for great racing conditions. The teams didn’t disappoint the fans gathered on Broadway and Navy Piers – the race was full of intrigue, with plenty of lead changes on the race course, and lots of near misses and thrills and spills from start to finish.
ORACLE Racing Spithill, winners on Saturday of the Match Racing Championship, came from behind to win the Fleet Racing Championship, becoming the first team to secure a double win at the AC World Series. Once again, team principal Larry Ellison was on board with the team today.
“We really wanted to win the double,” said skipper James Spithill following the race. “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.”
It was Emirates Team New Zealand who exploded off the starting line to lead the fleet of nine AC45s into a tense, action-packed turn at the first mark just a few hundred yards away. While the Kiwi team led early, the long leg upwind allowed several teams to shine, none more so than Artemis Racing who worked their way up to the front of a very tight pack by the top gate.
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, with a near-capsize dropping them well down the fleet.
While Spithill moved away from the fleet, Team Korea, Emirates Team New Zealand, Energy Team, and Aleph were locked in a dogfight 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.
Artemis Racing’s Terry Hutchinson made a late charge to take sixth place just one second ahead of China Team, with Green Comm Racing and ORACLE Racing Coutts at the back of the pack.
Earlier, in the AC500 Speed Trial, the fastest runs came on the teams’ second attempt down the course. First it was Emirates Team New Zealand setting the pace. But then came the ORACLE Racing juggernaut. First Spithill and then Darren Bundock, skippering ORACLE Racing Coutts, broke the record, with Bundock’s speed of 26.87 knots standing up as the winning speed.
San Diego is the last event of the calendar year for the America’s Cup World Series. 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.
“We're going to go to some fantastic venues,” said Regatta Director Iain Murray. “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 racing 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.”
“It is very easy to forget how far we've come in a very short space of time,” said Richard Worth, Chairman of the America’s Cup Event Authority. “Three months ago the America’s Cup World Series didn't even exist. Now, we have had three spectacular events, thanks largely to our sailors, these sportsmen of outstanding quality. We have created a stunning sporting event. We saw that today, with some outstanding sport, inches between the boats at the end and real drama throughout. So through a very short space of time the America’s Cup World Series has absolutely come alive.”
Results – San Diego Fleet Racing Championship
1. ORACLE Racing Spithill
2. Emirates Team New Zealand
3. Energy Team
5. Team Korea
6. Artemis Racing
7. China Team
8. Green Comm Racing
9. ORACLE Racing Coutts
Results – AC500 Speed Trial
ORACLE Racing - Coutts - 26.87 knots
ORACLE Racing - Spithill - 26.79 knots
Emirates Team New Zealand - 26.56 knots
Artemis Racing - 25.98 knots
Energy Team - 25.96 knots
China Team - 25.67 knots
ALEPH - 25.19 knots
Green Comm Racing - 24.74 knots
Team Korea - 24.30 knots