PODIUM FINISH FOR ORACLE TEAM USA IN SEASON OPENER
ORACLE TEAM USA has opened its 35th America's Cup campaign with a podium finish - third place - in Portsmouth.
The two double-point races scheduled for Sunday were cancelled, meaning the results following Saturday's racing stand as final for the Louis Vuitton America's Cup World Series Portsmouth.
"We're all disappointed that we couldn't get out there today, with the double points, it's all about the Sunday," said skipper Jimmy Spithill.
While the third place finish leaves room for improvement, Spithill said he was pleased with how the crew responded to adversity during the racing on Saturday.
"I was impressed with how the guys handled it," he said. "We were in some pretty tough situations on the race track and the guys had to dig deep and stay calm and they did. We were all pretty candid with each other after racing yesterday and went through our lessons, and I'm pleased with how we're working together."
This was the first time ORACLE TEAM USA sailed on the foiling AC45 class that is being used in the Louis Vuitton America's Cup World Series.
"These boats are a brutal test. It's another step on that we didn't think could happen but it did," he said. "These boats are so physical - it's a real workout.
"There's times where you're just hanging on, you're on the edge of control. That's what you want. We like to be challenged and here, the good guys got it right."
Spithill was referring to Land Rover BAR, the home team that took the win in Portsmouth. Much to the delight of the local crowds.
"It just shows how great it is to have a British team back in the America's Cup competition. There was some serious interest here – you look at the estimated spectator numbers on and off the water, it was as if the actual America's Cup was being raced in terms of crowd size, it was really comparable.
"It's just so cool to see a competitive team come from here and I know from past experiences that the Brits get behind their home sporting teams. These guys will be tough."
The team was honored to be greeted by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge during the Official Prizeging ceremony.
ORACLE TEAM USA will reconvene in Bermuda in early August for a foiling camp at homebase before heading to Sweden for the next event of the Louis Vuitton America's Cup World Series.
Louis Vuitton America's Cup World Series Portsmouth Results:
1. Land Rover BAR - 19 points
2. Emirates Team New Zealand - 18 points
3. ORACLE TEAM USA - 16 points
4. Groupama Team France - 13 points
5. SoftBank Team Japan - 13 points
6. Artemis Racing - 11 points
Next event: Louis Vuitton America's Cup World Series Gothenburg - August 28-30
Sights and Sounds from Portsmouth: