AC WORLD SERIES UPDATE – The big match race on tap today is between Ben Ainslie’s JP Morgan BAR team and ORACLE TEAM USA’s Jimmy Spithill. This is a preview of next year’s Defender Trials, when Ben Ainslie joins ORACLE TEAM USA and is slated to go head-to-head with Spithill in the AC72.
Spithill spoke yesterday about the friendly competition between the two and how Ainslie fits into the team’s plans: “I’m excited. We’ve got to build an incredible in-house racing program. It was a no brainer when Russell (Coutts) and I were talking about it. ‘Who do we bring in to help us win and defend the Cup?’ Well we hire the best sailor in the world. To be pushed, you have to work with the best and Ben and I get along really well. We both crave competition and enjoy going out and pushing each other.”
For his part, Ainslie is talking down his chances in the match racing, saying he still has a lot to learn about match racing the AC45s.
“It’s a really different style compared to what I’ve done before,” he said. “The start period is much shorter and it all comes down to one or two key manoeuvres in the pre-start and then good boat-handling throughout the race, so that’s what we’ll focus on.”
Don’t believe him. This will be a great match.
The other match should be good too, with Nathan Outteridge looking to step up his match racing form against the old master Russell Coutts.
In both matches, the winner advances to the Semifinals, the loser is out. The match races are first up today, just after 4pm local time.
ORIGINAL POST: 0900 hours
With ORACLE TEAM USA sailors holding down three of the top four spots on the fleet racing leaderboard (Ben Ainslie 1st, Jimmy Spithill 2nd, Russell Coutts 4th), the Defender made an impressive debut on the first day of Championship Racing. New Artemis Racing sailor Nathan Outteridge is the only ‘outsider’ to break into a podium position. The other teams will have to step up their performances or Jimmy Spithill may just fulfil his goal of having all three ORACLE skippers on the podium.
Today, all three ORACLE TEAM USA boats open the day with quarterfinal matches, before the full fleet comes out for fleet races three and four. Racing is scheduled to begin at 4:00pm PDT and will be broadcast from 4pm to 6pm.
Artemis Racing Red takes vs. ORACLE TEAM USA Coutts
J.P. Morgan BAR vs. ORACLE TEAM USA Spithill.
The forecast is for similar weather to yesterday, with Southwest winds in the 14-18 knot range.
TO WATCH LIVE GO TO: www.americascup.com