Wednesday afternoon on the Bay of Naples saw nine teams participate in the official practice session, ahead of the first day of championship racing in the America’s Cup World Series, due to start this afternoon, on April 18, 2013.
This is the final event of the 2012-13 America’s Cup World Series. ORACLE TEAM USA is leading the standings and has tasked Tom Slingsby with protecting a lead built up in the first events by team skipper Jimmy Spithill. Slingsby jokes that Spithill has told him not to ‘stuff it up’, and although he considers himself an underdog in making his AC World Series debut as skipper, he’s confident his team can earn good results.
“I think we’ve got a good young team that could surprise some people,” he said. “Our boat handling looks pretty good so we just need to get our race experience up.”
Another team making their inaugural AC World Series appearance is HS Racing, led by double Olympic gold medalist Roman Hagara, who says he’s hoping to challenge some of the more experienced AC45 teams over the course of the week.
“I want to see us improve a little bit from race to race and hopefully get some finishes near the top,” he said. “The other teams have many more hours on the water than we do, but I think there’s a chance we could surprise some people.”
Following today’s training session the nine skippers took to the stage to meet the public in the Race Village. A vocal and enthusiastic crowd was on hand to ask questions and celebrate the sailors. Fans have been lining the foreshore to watch the teams practicing since last weekend when the Race Village opened and the crowds are only expected to grow as the week progresses.
Racing from Thursday to Sunday will be streamed live on YouTube worldwide (subject to territorial rights agreements) beginning at 1400 local time (CEST) on Thursday.
Current 2012-13 America’s Cup World Series Championship leaderboard
(Teams participating in Naples – skipper – points)
ORACLE TEAM USA (Slingsby) – 165
Luna Rossa Piranha (Draper) – 121
Artemis Racing White (Ekberg) – 120
J.P. Morgan BAR – 116
Energy Team – 102
Emirates Team New Zealand – 100
Luna Rossa Swordfish – 71
China Team – 43
HS Racing – 0