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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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International Jury decisions issued on ORACLE TEAM USA AC45 yachts

San Francisco, Calif., 09/03/2013

30/08/2013 - San Francisco (USA,CA) - 34th America's Cup - AC72 training

AC72 Training on SF Bay 9/4/13 © ACEA / PHOTO GILLES MARTIN-RAGET

An inquiry by the Measurement Committee and International Jury on modifications that ORACLE TEAM USA made to their AC45 yachts in 2012 ended today with a report issued by the International Jury.

Three team members have been excluded from participating in the regatta. The team has also been deducted two points from its score in the upcoming America’s Cup Finals beginning September 7. They have also been fined US$250,000.

In August the team voluntarily withdrew retroactively from the 2012/2013 AC45 regattas in question.

The International Jury confirmed that only a handful of individuals were involved, and that all members of senior management of ORACLE TEAM USA — including skippers Jimmy Spithill and Ben Ainslie, CEO Russell Coutts, General Manager Grant Simmer and Shore Team Director Mark Turner— were not aware or involved in any way.

To win the America’s Cup, a team must score nine points, the highest ever number in the competition’s 162 year-old history.

The defender now starts with a deficit score of minus-2 and must win 11 races to retain the trophy. Emirates Team New Zealand, the challenger, is unaffected and must win 9 races as before.

The highly anticipated 34th America’s Cup “September Showdown” between Dean Barker, skipper of challenger Emirates Team New Zealand, and Jimmy Spithill, skipper of ORACLE TEAM USA, begins Saturday, September 7th with two races at 1:10pm and 2:10pm Pacific Time.

The race series continues on Sunday the 8th, Tuesday the 10th, Thursday the 12th, Saturday the 14th, and, if necessary the subsequent Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday — each with two races per day at 1:10pm and 2:10pm.

The full International Jury decision can be found under Jury Notices on the America’s Cup Official Race Noticeboard.

From: AmericasCup.com.

LL12

15/07/2013 – San Francisco – 34th America’s Cup – July 2013 Liveline graphics

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After months of waiting, wondering and lots of speculation, the 2013 America’s Cup finally opened yesterday on July 4th with the grand Opening Ceremony on the main stage at the America’s Cup Pavilion.

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Opening Ceremonies at America’s Cup Pavilion. Photo: Nancy Birnbaum, © 2013

Sailors of the four teams contesting the 2013 America’s Cup—ORACLE TEAM USA, Emirates Team New Zealand, Luna Rossa Challenge and Artemis Racing were introduced to cheering crowds from their home nations and just about everywhere else.

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ORACLE TEAM USA.
Photo: Nancy Birnbaum, © 2013

The 34th America’s Cup is being hosted in the U.S. for the first time since 1995 and will most likely be known from now on as the “San Francisco America’s Cup.” At least according to S.F. Mayor,  Ed M. Lee.

The Opening Ceremony featured cultural performances from the four competing nations, including the native New Zealand Maori performing arts group Te Waka Huia, by the tenor Pasquale Esposito from Italy, and Sweden’s Voices of Sweden Choir. The Recycle Percussion troupe performed a rousing rendition of The National Anthem on behalf of the U.S..

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Te Waka Huia from New Zealand. Photo: Nancy Birnbaum, © 2013

Additional performances were from Misa Malone, from the cast of Beach Blanket Babylon, who sang “San Francisco,” and Nayah Damasen, an 8-year-old from San Jose, Calif., who sang the National Anthem. Representatives from the U.S. Coast Guard Color Guard and the United States Naval Sea Cadet Corps ushered in the American flag and the flags of Italy, New Zealand and Sweden.

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Team flags are presented.
Photo: Nancy Birnbaum, © 2013

The ceremony included a poignant tribute to Artemis racing team member Andrew “Bart” Simpson, who was killed in an accident when their AC72 flipped over during practice.

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Teams honor fellow-team member Andrew “Bart” Simpson.
Photo: Nancy Birnbaum © 2013

The park officially opened shortly after noon time with San Francisco Board of Supervisors President David Chiu, Monique Moyer, Executive Director of the Port of San Francisco, Valérie Chapoulaud, the CEO of Louis Vuitton Americas, Charlotte Schultz, the Chief of Protocol for the city and county of San Francisco, and the ACEA’s Barclay, participating in a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the entrance to the America’s Cup Park.

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Opening fanfare.
Photo: Nancy Birnbaum, © 2013

The AC72 Time Trials that were scheduled for today have been canceled due to strong winds this morning.

“At 9:00am the wind is over 20 knots on the race course area and the forecast is for it to increase as the day goes on,” said Principal Race Officer John Craig. “The right decision is to keep the AC72s out of the parade and time trials today to keep everyone in good shape for the first day of racing in the Louis Vuitton Cup, the America’s Cup Challenger Series, on Sunday.”

The boat parade will continue as scheduled, including the replica of the yacht America, but there will no AC72s participating.

On race day afternoons throughout the Summer of Racing, the America’s Cup Pavilion stage will showcase local performing artists free to the public. The Opening Weekend features five local bands with the first of these performances on Friday, July 5, from 3:00 pm to 5:30 pm PT.

The headliner act is New Diplomat, an American Alternative – Electronic Rock band. Featuring members from around the world, the band formed in 2010 and has since gathered a significant following, blending a combination of alt rock, indie pop and electronic music.

The opening act is The Five Hundreds, a San Francisco-based classic rock band that plays a mix of well-crafted original songs and high-energy rock and roll covers.

For the complete program and race schedule, visit americascup.com.

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Walking with Giants

San Francisco, 6/19/2013

America’s Cup skippers Iain Percy (Artemis Racing), Dean Barker (Emirates Team New Zealand), Max Sirena (Luna Rossa Challenge) and Jimmy Spithill (ORACLE TEAM USA) shared the honor of throwing the first pitch at Wednesday’s San Francisco Giants game against the San Diego Padres.

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America’s Cup Teams meet the Giants at AT&T Park.
Photo: © ACEA / PHOTO GILLES MARTIN-RAGET

Earlier, the sailors led their teams out on to the field of the World Series champions just before game time on Wednesday. They were joined by the America’s Cup trophy itself, set up alongside the pitcher’s mound as the competition for the oldest trophy in international sport was celebrated at San Francisco’s AT&T Park.

 

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The Trophy comes to AT & T Park.
Photo: © ACEA / PHOTO GILLES MARTIN-RAGET

The first competition for the America’s Cup Summer of Racing was seen by baseball fans today as the four skippers fought good-naturedly over who threw the fastest pitch and who pounded a perfect strike into the mitts of Sergio Romo and Nick Noonan of the San Francisco Giants.

The visitors from San Diego could boast a strong America’s Cup connection too. The southern California city was the last US city to host the America’s Cup, back in 1995, and prior to that in 1992 and 1988 too.

San Francisco fans gave Artemis Racing an especially warm reception as the #sailonbart hashtag was shown on the Jumbotron, in memory of the late Andrew ‘Bart’ Simpson.

Giants manager Bruce Bochy met the skippers and shook Jimmy Spithill’s hand. The hometown Giants won the World Series in 2010, the same year that ORACLE TEAM USA won the America’s Cup and brought it to San Francisco.

The Giants have won a second title since and are the current World Series champions, so both San Francisco teams are fighting to defend their respective titles at the end of the summer. Spithill’s ORACLE TEAM USA will race in the America’s Cup Finals in September, while the Giants approach the midway point of their season in a battle for a playoff spot.

From: Americascup.com

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This weekend the countdown clock will mark two months to the start of the “Summer of Racing” in San Francisco. An Opening Ceremony is planned for July 4 and will be followed on July 5 by a special fleet race for all teams.

San Francisco (USA) - 34th America's Cup - ARTEMIS and ORACLE TEAM USA AC72 training in San Francisco Bay

San Francisco (USA) – 34th America’s Cup – ARTEMIS and ORACLE TEAM USA AC72 training in San Francisco Bay. Photo:Gilles Martin-Raget/AC34

Racing in the Louis Vuitton Cup, the America’s Cup Challenger Series, officially begins on July 7 with a match between Emirates Team New Zealand and Luna Rossa Challenge of Italy. It continues on July 9 with Sweden’s Artemis Racing taking on the New Zealanders, and July 10 with Luna Rossa against Artemis Racing.

The Louis Vuitton Cup schedule is packed with action. Some highlights:

  • The Louis Vuitton Cup round robins are scheduled July 7-Aug. 4. Wins are worth 1 point
  • The Louis Vuitton Cup Semi Final, a best-of-seven series, is scheduled Aug. 6-14
  • The Louis Vuitton Cup Final, a best-of-13 series, is scheduled Aug. 17-30
  • Racing is scheduled on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays
  • Start times for the round robins and semi finals are scheduled for 1:15 pm PT (Tuesdays, Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays) or 2:15 pm PT (Wednesdays)
  • Mondays and Thursdays are scheduled reserve days
  • In the round robins and semi finals, one race is scheduled per day with a target elapsed time of one hour
  • In the Louis Vuitton Cup Final, two races are scheduled each day, each with a target elapsed time of 30 minutes
Boat 2 First Sail / SFO April Testing Session / ORACLE TEAM USA / San Francisco (USA) / 24-04-2013. Photo: Guilain GRENIER/AC34

Boat 2 First Sail / SFO April Testing Session / ORACLE TEAM USA / San Francisco (USA) / 24-04-2013.
Photo: Guilain GRENIER/AC34

The top team at the end of the round robins gets to choose whether it advances directly to the Louis Vuitton Cup Finals or races in the semi finals. With a break of 12 days in the offing, presumably the winner would choose to go to the final and let the other two teams continue slugging it out in the semis.

Throughout the Louis Vuitton Cup the defender, ORACLE TEAM USA, will also have access to the race course four days per week, Wednesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays, sometimes sandwiched around the challengers’ racing.

The America’s Cup Finals are scheduled Sept. 7-21, with racing set for Saturdays, Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays. The match is a best-of-17 series. Two races are planned each day, lasting approximately 30 minutes, and beginning at 1:10 pm PT and 2:10 pm PT. A break of approximately 30 minutes between races is mandated by the Protocol.

View the complete schedule for the “Summer of Racing”

From: Americascup.com

 

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There’s no other way to put it… watching ORACLE TEAM USA “fly” their AC72 on foils is simply breathtaking.

Come along for a test flight…

In other AC34 News…

Austrians Roman Hagara and Hans-Peter Steinacher, double Olympic Gold medalists in the Tornado catamaran, have entered the upcoming America’s Cup World Series Naples, scheduled Apr. 16-21.

The duo will sail under the banner HS Racing and race under the US flag in partnership with ORACLE TEAM USA.

HS Racing is one of nine crews entered in the regatta, which will also feature America’s Cup World Series leader ORACLE TEAM USA, second-placed Luna Rossa Piranha, third-placed Artemis Racing White, J.P. Morgan BAR, Energy Team, Emirates Team New Zealand, Luna Rossa Swordfish and China Team.

Hagara and Steinacher were Gold medalists at the Sydney 2000 and Athens 2004 Olympics. They are also the sports directors for the Red Bull Youth America’s Cup, scheduled Sept. 1-4 in San Francisco.

team-NZ © ACEA-2013

© ACEA-2013 / Photo Gilles Martin-Raget

“It’s great to have Roman and Hans-Peter involved,” said ORACLE TEAM USA CEO Russell Coutts. “They aim to be serious competitors and this is a great platform to launch their America’s Cup aspirations.”

Familiar names are lining up for the final AC World Series event, with sailors such as Dean Barker of Emirates Team New Zealand, Francesco Bruni and Chris Draper of Luna Rossa, Yann Guichard of Energy Team and Tom Slingsby of ORACLE TEAM USA scheduled to compete. Sweden’s Artemis Racing will be helmed by 23-year-old Charlie Ekberg, Sweden’s top 49er sailor and skipper of Artemis Racing/Swedish Youth Challenge for the Red Bull Youth America’s Cup. The Naples event will also feature the return of Mitch Booth to the helm of China Team, while Ben Ainslie will skipper his J.P. Morgan BAR team.

Team Korea, previously an America’s Cup World Series participant and Louis Vuitton Cup entrant, has withdrawn from further competition in the 34th America’s Cup. In a letter to the Golden Gate Yacht Club, the team indicated it has plans to enter the 35th America’s Cup.

Last year’s AC World Series Naples drew crowds estimated at 500,000, who were there in part to catch the debut of Luna Rossa Challenge 2013. Draper led his Luna Rossa Piranha crew to a thrilling win in the final fleet race. The victory kicked off celebrations among the tens of thousands of Italian America’s Cup fans lining the Naples waterfront to catch a glimpse of their heroes.

From Americascup.com.

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