Oracle Team USA: pre-race pit stop not enough to save the day
Saturday, June 3, 2017 7:26 AM
Pre-race pit stop not enough to save the day
A great effort by the ORACLE TEAM USA shore crew wasn't enough to save a point against Artemis Racing on Friday at the Louis Vuitton America's Cup Qualifiers.
During pre-race preparations, ORACLE TEAM USA broke its port rudder. The boat was immediately towed back to base, hauled out, and a new set of rudders installed.
The boat was back on the course in record time, but only just before the start of the race, making for a difficult pre-start.
"When we broke the rudder, we came back to make a switch. I thought we didn't have time to do it and get back to the course, but we did," Spithill said.
"It was an amazing effort by the shore crew. It's a shame we couldn't reward them with a win, but it's good to know what we're capable of when it comes down to it."
Watch the shore crew operation here
With skipper Jimmy Spithill on the push, Artemis Racing responded with a luff and "17" splashed down, losing speed just before the start.
ORACLE TEAM USA crossed the starting line 9-seconds behind the Swedish challenger and trailed the rest of the way around the course.
With the wind shifting slightly to the right, the race course didn't offer any passing opportunities and neither did the Artemis Racing crew who sailed a strong race to take the win.
"Getting out there late didn't cost us the race, no way," Spithill insisted. "The shore team got us in a position to win."
"What did cost us the race was that crash down before the start. We have to look at what happened there. What was hard was the course was pretty one sided, so that was disappointing."
The leaderboard is now set up so that Saturday's race against Emirates Team New Zealand will determine which team earns the one bonus point advantage for the America's Cup Match.
If ORACLE TEAM USA wins the race, it will have a one point advantage heading into the America's Cup Match. If Team New Zealand wins tomorrow AND is the challenger in the Match, it will start with the lead.
"It's a big one tomorrow. For us to be in a position where we need to beat the Kiwis to get that advantage is pretty exciting. The boys are pumped up for it. The forecast is great and I think it will be one hell of a race."
Our starting six on Friday:
Skipper / Helmsman -- Jimmy Spithill
Wing Trimmer -- Kyle Landford
Tactician / Grinder -- Tom Slingsby
Grinder -- Louis Sinclair
Grinder -- Kinley Fowler
Grinder -- Ky Hurst
Results and Leaderboard - Louis Vuitton America's Cup Qualifiers (Team -- wins / losses -- points)
Emirates Team New Zealand -- 8 / 1 -- 8 points
ORACLE TEAM USA -- 6 / 2 -- 7 points (including 1 bonus point)
Land Rover BAR -- 3 / 5 -- 5 points (including 2 bonus points)
Artemis Racing -- 4 / 5 -- 4 points
SoftBank Team Japan -- 3 / 6 -- 3 points
Groupama Team France -- 2 / 7 -- 2 points