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“This is it! Work your arses off!” –Ben Ainsle

ORACLE TEAM USA won the 34th America’s Cup in a winner-take-all 19th race, defeating challenger Emirates Team New Zealand by 44 seconds in today’s clincher. Led by 35-year-old skipper Jimmy Spithill, ORACLE TEAM USA won by the score of 9-8.

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OTUSA Wins! © ACEA / PHOTO GILLES MARTIN-RAGET

This is the second America’s Cup win for ORACLE TEAM USA and Spithill, which won the 162-year-old trophy in Valencia, Spain, in February 2010. Then 30 years of age, Spithill became the youngest to ever skipper a Cup winning team.

In the past week ORACLE TEAM USA has steadily improved its boatspeed to the point where it could hydrofoil upwind at 30-32 knots, incredible performance never seen before in the America’s Cup.

“It was a fantastic race. We wouldn’t have it any other way,” said Spithill, the two-time Cup winner. “We came from behind, the guys showed so much heart. On your own you’re nothing, but a team like this can make you look great… We were facing the barrel of a gun at 8-1 and the guys didn’t even flinch.

“Thanks to San Francisco, this is one hell of a day,” Spithill said.

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Jimmy’s cup runneth over.

ORACLE TEAM USA’s victory marks one of the most improbable comebacks in the history of sport. The team won 11 races to score the 9 points required for victory due to a penalty imposed by the International Jury. Just last Wednesday, Sept. 18, ORACLE TEAM USA trailed the series 8-1. With the challenger on match point, the defender closed out the series with eight consecutive victories.

This was the third time in the history of the America’s Cup with a winner-take-all final race. Previously, the defender won in 1920 and the challenger won in 1983. Both times the winner rallied from a multi-race deficit, but never anything amounting to eight straight wins.

“This was a wonderful match of teams,” said Regatta Director Iain Murray, who’s been involved with the America’s Cup since 1983. “In the case of a boat coming from behind, 3-1 down as was the case with Australia II in 83, the shoe is on a different foot this time around. Then it was the challenger behind and this time it was the defender. But in the end we had great competition between two great teams, evenly matched, battling it out to the end.”

One million fans visited the official America’s Cup venues at Piers 27/29 and Marina Green since they opened on July 4, and hundreds of thousands more lined the shores of San Francisco Bay to catch a glimpse of the flying, foiling AC72.

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Oracle TeamUSA takes their victory lab around San Francisco Bay.

34th America’s Cup Standings (first to 9 points wins)

  • ORACLE TEAM USA – 9 (11 wins; ORACLE TEAM USA was penalized its first two victories by the International Jury)
  • Emirates Team New Zealand – 8

Race 19 Performance Data

  • Course: 5 Legs/10.07 nautical miles
  • Elapsed Time: OTUSA – 23:24, ETNZ – 24:08
  • Delta: OTUSA +:44
  • Total distance sailed: OTUSA – 11.9 NM, ETNZ – 12.2 NM
  • Average Speed: OTUSA – 30.55 knots (35 mph), ETNZ – 30.55 knots (35 mph)
  • Top Speed: OTUSA – 44.33 knots (51 mph), ETNZ – 45.72 knots (53 mph)
  • Windspeed: Average – 18.2 knots, Peak – 21.3 knots
  • Number of Tacks/Jibes: OTUSA – 9/7, ETNZ – 9/7

From AmericasCup.com

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Start of Race 1. Photo N. Birnbaum, ©2013

“We still have to look at the boat and what we can do to improve it. There’s a long way to go in my mind.” — James Spithill, after today’s loss to Barker and Team New Zealand.

America’s Cup defender ORACLE TEAM USA grabbed headlines this morning when the day’s crew lists were released. The defender had changed tacticians, inserting four-time Olympic gold medalist Ben Ainslie in place of past America’s Cup champion John Kostecki.

Later in the day on the racecourse, it was Emirates Team New Zealand that stole Races 6 and 7 from the defender and now stands two-thirds of the way to winning the oldest trophy in international sport.

Emirates Team New Zealand leads the series 6-0 after winning Race 6 by 47 seconds and Race 7 by1:06. The winner of the 34th America’s Cup will be the first team to win 9 points. For the Kiwis that means three additional race wins and for ORACLE TEAM USA it means 10, due to a penalty imposed by the International Jury.

“We’re very satisfied with the day; it’s nice to get two more points, but there’s still a long way to go,” said Emirates Team New Zealand skipper Dean Barker. “It’s only two-thirds of the way to actually winning the Cup. You have to win 9 points. Three more races is a lot of hard work, and we know that it’s far from over. One bad day out there and momentum changes and things can be quite different. We’re under no illusion, there’s still a very hard road ahead.”

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Ellison making his presence known. Pre-start, race 1. Photo: NBirnbaum,©2013

In Race 6 Barker said he was asleep all through the pre-start of the race, which put the team on the back foot. But in a similar scenario to Race 5, the team fought from behind on the upwind leg and passed the defender to gain the lead and then extend.

The win in Race 7 was a wire-to-wire performance. The Kiwis started to windward of ORACLE TEAM USA and crossed onto the racecourse riding on their hydrofoils and doing approximately 38 knots. They rounded the first turning mark in the lead and were never threatened the rest of the race.

Emirates Team New Zealand was untouchable on the two upwind legs. In Race 6 the Kiwis gained 55 seconds on the 3-nautical-mile leg and 50 seconds in Race 7.

Upwind, downwind? It’s still a tacking war.

“We didn’t know about the designs before the match started,” said ORACLE TEAM USA skipper Jimmy Spithill. “Both teams spent a lot of time and energy focused on each other and where we stood. I think it’s a shock they have the edge upwind and potentially we have an edge downwind.”

That upwind speed edge rendered moot ORACLE TEAM USA’s decision to change its decision maker. Kostecki, who guided Spithill to victory in the 33rd America’s Cup in 2010, opened the match in the back of the boat, but after five races came under fire for some of his decisions.

Spithill decided yesterday to insert four-time Olympic gold medalist Ainslie in his place. Ainslie has been the team’s B boat helmsman and is widely considered a skipper, but the team felt change was needed for the sake of change.

“Sure we made a change in the back of the boat. Both John and Ben are fantastic sailors, two of the best sailors in the world. We’re very fortunate that we can rotate guys like that. But we’ll have to study the data and see what we can do to change up the boat.

“We still haven’t seen some conditions. Those guys have an edge upwind and tacking, but we still haven’t seen the light-air end of the spectrum and we haven’t seen the Code 0s,” Spithill said. “We still have to look at the boat and what we can do to improve it. There’s a long way to go in my mind.”

As it was my day to be out on the bay following the action from one of the Defender speed boats, I was hoping that Oracle Team USA would have at least one win. It’s my Birthday for goodness sakes! Just one win… that’s not too much to ask for, right?

Spithill and crew had a great start to race 1 but as we watched them heading for the finish, I saw Oracle jibe left toward the Marina Green, leaving New Zealand headed straight for the gates. Whaaa? I was dumbfounded. What were they thinking?

It was exciting to finally get out there and watch the racing “up close & personal” and I did get some great shots of both yachts as well as some of the cheering fans. And so the day wasn’t a complete loss.

…just for Oracle Team USA.

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Oracle Team USA takes a bow for adoring fans. Photo: NBirnbaum,©2013

Racing resumes on Saturday with Races 8 and 9, scheduled for 1:15 pm PT and 2:15 pm PT. In the U.S., the America’s Cup Finals will be broadcast live on the NBC Sports Network. Replays will be available on the America’s Cup YouTube channel.
Thanks to Americascup.com.

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First race of the America’s Cup Finals. Photo: Gilles Martin-Raget

Emirates Team New Zealand leads the 34th America’s Cup 2-0 after the first day of racing. The Kiwi crew, led by skipper Dean Barker, won the two races by 36 and 52 seconds in some fantastic racing.

“That was a fantastic day. We’re really happy with how it all panned out,” said Kiwi tactician Ray Davies.

“That’s not the result we wanted,” said ORACLE TEAM USA skipper Jimmy Spithill. “I think the boats are very close and the boys did a good job on board. We were surprised not to get them a penalty in the start in Race 2, and we weren’t able to accelerate as quick as they did. It’s difficult to come back from behind; they didn’t make many mistakes after that. The boats are very close and tomorrow’s another day.”

OTUSA Race Crew

Oracle Team USA.© ORACLE TEAM USA / Photo Guilain GRENIER

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Emirates Team New Zealand. Photo: Chris Cameron 2013

34th America’s Cup Standings (first to 9 points wins)

  • Emirates Team New Zealand – 2
  • ORACLE TEAM USA – 0

Race 1 Performance Data

  • Course: 5 Legs/9.71 nautical miles
  • Elapsed Time: ETNZ – 23:30, OTUSA – 24:06
  • Delta: ETNZ +:36
  • Total distance sailed: ETNZ – 11.7 NM, OTUSA – 11.4 NM
  • Average Speed: ETNZ – 30.07 knots (35 mph), OTUSA – 28.58 knots (33 mph)
  • Top Speed: ETNZ – 43.54 knots (50 mph), OTUSA – 42.51 knots (49 mph)
  • Windspeed: Average – 16 knots, Peak – 21 knots

Race 2 Performance Data

  • Course: 5 Legs/10.11 nautical miles
  • Elapsed Time: ETNZ – 22:46, OTUSA – 23:38
  • Delta: ETNZ +:52
  • Total distance sailed: ETNZ – 11.3 NM, OTUSA – 11.3 NM
  • Average Speed: ETNZ – 30.12 knots (35 mph), OTUSA – 28.92 knots (33 mph)
  • Top Speed: ETNZ – 46 knots (53 mph), OTUSA – 42.87 knots (49 mph)
  • Windspeed: Average – 16.6 knots, Peak – 19.5 knots

Upcoming America’s Cup Schedule

  • Sunday, Sept. 8: Race 3 (1:15 pm PT), Race 4 (2:15 pm PT)
  • Tuesday, Sept. 10: Race 5 (1:15 pm PT), Race 6 (2:15 pm PT)
  • Thursday, Sept. 12: Race 7 (1:15 pm PT), Race 8 (2:15 pm PT)
  • Saturday, Sept. 14: Race 9 (1:15 pm PT), Race 10* (2:15 pm PT)
  • Sunday, Sept. 15: Race 11* (1:15 pm PT), Race 12* (2:15 pm PT)
    (*If necessary)
30/08/2013 - San Francisco (USA,CA) - 34th America's Cup - AC72 training

Photo: Gilles Martin-Raget

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America’s Cup Pavilion Set to Open on Piers 27/29

World-renowned Musician Sting to Perform on June 2

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The America’s Cup and Live Nation are proud to present the America’s Cup Concert Series at the America’s Cup Pavilion, located between Piers 27/29.   The America’s Cup Pavilion will host multiple events in the summer of 2013 in San Francisco’s first outdoor, waterfront concert venue.

Sting, the multi-Grammy award winning musician is the first headline act to be announced. Tickets for the concert, part of the critically acclaimed Back to Bass world tour, will go on sale beginning Friday, February 22nd at 10am at Ticketmaster.com. Additional events will be announced throughout the concert season that runs through October.

The America’s Cup Concert Series is a major live entertainment initiative in support of the America’s Cup Park on the Embarcadero, intended to create a vibrant, public space with a full range of activities for sailors and non-sailors alike.

The new, temporary, 9,000 seat venue will be centered in the America’s Cup Park on Piers 27/29 and will host a wide range of events including concerts, family shows, community and business events, comedy, as well as America’s Cup race activities and viewing sessions.

The America’s Cup Park at Piers 27/29 on the Embarcadero is the center of event activities during the 34th America’s Cup in San Francisco. This is where fans will find team bases, interactive exhibits, food and beverage courts, as well as shops featuring their favorite team gear. This is also the place to come on race days for the Dock-In and Dock-Out shows, as well as team and guest hospitality.

The America’s Cup Concert Series will run throughout the summer of 2013 and coincide with the Louis Vuitton Cup (the America’s Cup Challenger Series), the Red Bull Youth America’s Cup and the America’s Cup Finals.

“The America’s Cup is one of the world’s great sporting events and by partnering with Live Nation we can create a fun atmosphere with both entertainment and educational opportunities in the family-friendly environment of the America’s Cup Park,” said Stephen Barclay, CEO of the 34th America’s Cup. “San Francisco’s storied music history is part of the fabric of this great community and we plan to continue to celebrate music and culture as part of the America’s Cup.”

“We’re honored to partner with an event as prestigious as the America’s Cup to bring an exciting new entertainment venue to San Francisco,” said Jodi Goodman, President of Live Nation Northern California. “An outdoor venue in the City of San Francisco is long overdue.   The America’s Cup Park will truly add to our rich San Francisco culture and bring more value to our City and its waterfront.”

The stage and seating on Piers 27/29 will allow America’s Cup organizers to host a range of both ticketed and non-ticketed events. In addition to a full music line-up, the amphitheatre will offer daytime shows featuring educational topics themed around the America’s Cup and race viewing opportunities on a large screen.

Construction is set to begin in spring of 2013 with the first events anticipated by mid-May 2013 and running through October 2013.

The next Louis Vuitton Cup, America’s Cup Challenger Series (July-August 2013), leading to the America’s Cup Finals (September 2013), will be held for the first time in San Francisco Bay, a natural sailing arena, in AC72 wing sail catamarans.

 

Courtesy of America’s Cup.com

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A foggy start of Fleet Race 2. Photo: Nancy Birnbaum

Contrary to not-so-popular press (does “SFGate” ring a bell?), there was a very pleased hoard of spectators yesterday to watch the racing action of the second day of the America’s Cup World Series. The despicable article I refer to was run back on Aug.4, written by a C.W. Nevius, columnist and clearly curmudgeon. Mr. Nevius seemed to think that just because a few boats were forced to drop out of the racing due to financial constraints, no-one would want to come see the rest of the racing fleet. “Does anyone care… ,” ran the headline. Way to go, Mr. N! Way to promote for your City!

In other news…

The home team, ORACLE TEAM USA, put on a show for its fans on Thursday, grabbing the top two spots in the first race and leading the fleet racing standings at the AC World Series San Francisco at the end of the day two.

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Clearly these spectators care when it comes to watching the exciting AC34 racing!
Photo: Gilles Martin-Raget/AC34.com

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Oracle Team USA’s James Spithill gives the “All Cool” sign during racing on Thursday. Photo:Guilain-GRENIER/AC34.com

Conditions were good for racing, with winds in the 12- to 16-knot range and fans flocked down to the Marina Green to cheer on their favorite sailors. The racecourse boundary was just yards from the shoreline and the teams often came within spitting distance of the crowds as they pushed the boundary to find relief from the flood tide. Happy sailors provided some spectacular spectating for the fans all along Crissy Field, the rock jetty and the Marina Green.

In the opening fleet race of the championship, the veteran Russell Coutts made an extraordinary start, accelerating powerfully a few moments before the start gun fired, hitting the line with pace and speeding past his rivals for an early lead he would hold to the finish. His stablemate Jimmy Spithill wasn’t far behind, putting two American boats at the top of the table.

“The start of the first race was critical, it was great to lead the fleet around that first mark,” said Coutts. “But it was a tough racecourse… you had to keep eyes open and pick your lanes well.”

In the second race, the two youngest skippers in the fleet began to make their mark. On Youth Day at the AC World Series, China Team’s Phil Robertson and Team Korea’s Nathan Outteridge, were up among the leaders early in the race, with Robertson leading around the first mark before falling back into the fleet. Outteridge was challenging for top spot as well until a penalty temporarily dropped him back. He would rally to finish fourth in the race, just ahead of J.P. Morgan BAR (Ben Ainslie).

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ORACLE TEAM USA – Coutts finish first in the 2nd Fleet Race of the World Series, followed closely by ORACLE TEAM USA – Spithill.
Photo: Nancy Birnbaum

After placing second in the first race, ORACLE TEAM USA’s Spithill put his stamp on the second contest, grabbing the lead from China Team at mark two and fighting off both Artemis Racing crews to hold on for the win and top spot at the end of the day.

“We had a bit of a battle with the Artemis boats, but the boys stretched us out there at the end,” said Spithill. “There’s a definite tide line up the course and the wind was difficult to read at the top end of the course. Our maneuvers were flawless. We’re very happy with today and are looking forward to tomorrow.”

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Artemis Teams battling to catch Oracle Team USA.
Photo: Nancy Birnbaum

Earlier, in the first set of sudden-death Match Racing Quarterfinal matches, both Luna Rossa crews were in tough pairings, scheduled against two of last season’s top teams. First, Swordfish (Paul Campbell-James) fell to the 2011-12 Match Racing champions, Terry Hutchinson and his Artemis Racing White crew in a race the Swedish team controlled from the start.

Then, Chris Draper’s Piranha team came up against the overall season title-holders in ORACLE TEAM USA SPITHILL. The American team timed the start to perfection and protected its early lead well, fending off a mid-race attack from the Italians, to earn a spot in the semifinals.

Racing on Friday through Sunday (2:00 pm PDT start time Friday and Saturday and 11:30 am PDT on Sunday) will be broadcast live around the world on the America’s Cup YouTube channel (subject to territorial broadcast restrictions). On television, coverage is available Friday through Saturday throughout the Bay Area on NBC Bay Area 11.2, and in California on Comcast Sportsnet California. The Super Sunday finale will be broadcast live, coast to coast, in the United States, on NBC from 11:30 am PDT.

Look for me – Your Cruising Editor, out on the Bay on Sunday for the final day of World Series AC racing! See you on the water…

Results after Day 2:

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