Carlo Borlenghi / Luna Rossa

Game, set and match for Oracle Team USA Spithill

As Luna Rossa Piranha claims the fleet racing prize at the AC World Series finale in Newport

Sunday July 1st 2012, Author: James Boyd, Location: United States

Turning around their lacklustre performance in Venice, so Oracle Team USA delivered on their homewaters, prominent in all areas of the leaderboard as the America's Cup World Series 2011-12 concluded in Newport, RI today.

Jimmy Spithill’s team earned the overall 2011-12 series title with strong second place finishes in both the match racing and fleet racing in Newport. The Oracle Team USA skipper also claimed the overall season Fleet Racing Championship while Sweden’s Artemis Racing, skippered by Terry Hutchinson, won the inaugural season’s Match Racing Championship.

“Consistency had been the key,” Spithill said moments before he was handed the newly commissioned AC World Series trophy. “We were the last team to arrive here, but we came out and performed under pressure. For us it was very satisfying to see us step up and the other guys fall back when the pressure came on.”

Spithill's veteran stable-mate very nearly stole the day in front of a capacity crowd of spectators at Fort Adams. Russell Coutts won the Newport Match Racing Championship over Spithill and almost took out the fleet race as well, but was denied that by Chris Draper’s Luna Rossa Piranha, who took advantage of an unforced error and subsequent penalty against Coutts to grab a lead which they subsequently extended to grab the Newport Fleet Racing Championship. Coutts then came under pressure to defend his second position from the Paul Campbell-James steered Luna Rossa Swordfish, but just held on for second place.

“Today just happened to work out for us," Coutts said. “We got some nice breaks, but I wouldn’t give us too much credit for it. As a team, we’re really happy. Jimmy and his guys won the World Series and that’s what we came here to do… We’re always out there to win, we’re not there to just sail around the buoys - we want to win.”

For Chris Draper, the fleet racing win was a nice turn around after a difficult week: “We’ve had a tough week, the team’s been pretty down, but I’m pleased that both boats did well today. We needed that result to prove to ourselves that we could do it, so we’re happy.”

Terry Hutchinson’s Artemis Racing placed fourth in the Newport Match Racing Championship this week, which earned his team enough points to win the Match Racing title for the season.

“It’s a nice milestone for the team,” Hutchinson said, his mood tempered somewhat by a poor fleet race on Sunday. “But I think we have a lot of work to do. There are a lot of areas we can do better. But we have 14 months to do it and we’re looking forward to the challenge.”

It was a disappointing regatta for Emirates Team New Zealand following their dramatic capsize on Thursday. Skipper Dean Barker,commented of their racing today: “We had a nice start and we’re second at the first mark and then we just blew it. We made a couple of mistakes and fell back to fifth or sixth and from there it was very difficult to fight our way back through.”

After winning the fleet racing in Venice, Loick Peyron's Energy Team came out bottom of the pile in Newport: “After six events and almost one year of racing, we need to improve still in our match racing, but in the fleet racing we are happy to be third overall for the season, which is good. Now, we look forward to the racing in San Francisco in August and October,” Peyron reflected.

The Newport event marks the end of the first season of America's Cup World Series racing, following previous events in Cascais (POR), Plymouth (UK), San Diego (USA), Naples and Venice (ITA). Regatta Director Iain Murray and his team have conducted 130 races over 30 days of racing in the six international venues. Over the time, only one day of races has been postponed due to weather.

Today's racing was broadcast live, coast to coast, in the USA on NBC, marking the return of the Cup to network television in the USA for the first time in more than 20 years. The final day of racing in the opening two events of the 2012-13 AC World Series in San Francisco in August and October will likewise be shown on NBC.

Racing will start anew next month with the 2012-13 AC World Series in San Francisco over 21-26 August. The new Ben Ainslie Racing will join the circuit as it comes to the host city of the 34th America’s Cup.

America's Cup World Series Newport fleet racing results:

Team Helm R1 R2 R3 R4 R5 Tot
Luna Rossa Piranha Chris Draper 3 8 5 5 1 53
Oracle Team USA Spithill Jimmy Spithill 1 1 1 3 5 48
Emirates Team New Zealand Dean Barker 6 2 3 1 6 40
Team Korea Nathan Outteridge 8 6 2 4 4 36
Luna Rossa Swordfish Paul Campbell-James 7 5 6 6 3 35
Oracle Team USA Coutts Russell Coutts 2 7 8 8 2 33
Artemis Racing Terry Hutchinson 4 3 4 7 7 32
Energy Team Loick Peyron 5 4 7 2 8 30

AC World Series Newport Match Racing Championship standings
1. Oracle Team USA Coutts
2. Oracle Team USA Spithill
3. Luna Rossa Piranha
4. Artemis Racing
5. Energy Team
6. Emirates Team New Zealand
7. Luna Rossa Swordfish
8. Team Korea

2011-12 AC World Series Overall Championship Leaderboard
(Team, Match Racing Points, Fleet Racing Points, Total Points)
1. Oracle Team USA Spithill…47 – 55 – 102 points
2. Emirates Team New Zealand…41 – 52 – 93 points
3. Artemis Racing…50 – 32 – 82 points
4. Energy Team…38 – 36 – 74 points
5. Oracle Team USA Coutts…39 – 29 – 68 points
6. Team Korea…33 – 33 – 66 points
7. Luna Rossa Piranha…26 – 26 – 52 points
8. Luna Rossa Swordfish…15 – 16 – 31 points
9. China Team…15 – 16 – 31 points




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