Published on Oct 6, 2012
ORACLE TEAM USA SPITHILL showed the resiliency today at America's Cup World Series San Francisco that is the mark of a great team.
The veteran crew, led by skipper Jimmy Spithill, overcame a spectacular capsize in Fleet Race 5 and later won the Match Racing Championship of the event sailed on San Francisco Bay. The U.S. Coast Guard estimated the spectator fleet at 1,000 vessels, while tens of thousands of people lined the shore.
ORACLE TEAM USA SPITHILL beat Emirates Team New Zealand (Dean Barker) by 18 seconds in a race that was decided on the start line. With less than 10 seconds to the start, Spithill dove to leeward of Barker and luffed his New Zealand opponent so hard that Barker wound up tacking to port to avoid a penalty. Spithill sped onto the racecourse as Barker was circling around to start and led by 31 seconds at the first reach mark.
The result was impressive considering that one hour earlier ORACLE TEAM USA SPITHILL lay on its port side. During the first fleet race of the day, the fifth in the series, Spithill was in second at the first reach mark and turning downwind in a mighty puff of approximately 20 knots. Spithill's bows dug in, the boat stood nearly vertical and then rolled onto its port side with the wingsail hitting the water.
None of the crew was injured in the incident, which forced them out of the race. They rebounded to place second in the day's second fleet race.
Spithill advanced to the championship after beating Artemis Racing -- White (Terry Hutchinson) in the semifinals, while Emirates Team New Zealand beat Artemis Racing -- Red (Nathan Outteridge).
In the fleet racing championship, J.P. Morgan BAR (Ben Ainslie) continued its strong showing with a 4-1. Ainslie has the high score of 63 points followed by Artemis Racing -- White with 52 points, Emirates Team New Zealand with 47 points and ORACLE TEAM USA SPITHILL with 39 points, in a tie with Artemis Racing -- Red.
The Super Sunday fleet race finale is scheduled tomorrow and will be broadcast nationally in the U.S. by NBC beginning at 1:30 pm PDT. The broadcast will include a replay of the match racing championship followed by the seventh and final fleet race, scheduled for 1:55 pm PDT.
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About the Americas Cup:
The America's Cup is without a doubt the most difficult trophy in sport to win. In the more than 150 years since that first race off England, only four nations have won what is often called the "oldest trophy in international sport." For some perspective, consider that there had been nine contests for the America's Cup before the first modern Olympic Games were held in Athens in 1896.
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