Photo: Ricardo Pinto / ACEA

Looking forward to New York

Matt Cassidy joins the AC45 crew

Thursday April 28th 2016, Author: James Boyd, Location: United States

“It’s going to be a tricky place to race,” said Oracel Team USA sailing team manger and tactician Tom Slingsby, when asked about the race area for the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series in New York which takes place over 7-8 May.

“I’ve never sailed in New York or on the Hudson River. So for me it will be a new experience. There is a lot of current and obviously plenty of big landmarks on shore which affect the wind and make it all the more tricky. But as hard as it will be, it’s the same for everybody and the best team always seems to win.”

A look at the leaderboard shows the top three teams making a break from the pack. But Slingsby says that can be deceiving – the fleet is getting very competitive.

“All of the teams are capable of winning on the day. Just look at the last couple of events. Artemis Racing shows as being down a bit on the leaderboard, but they won the event in Bermuda. And Groupama Team France had a great regatta in Oman.

“It’s getting tight at the top with Emirates Team New Zealand, ourselves and Land Rover BAR. It seems to always come down to who puts it together and wins the last race.

“But to be honest, we can’t look too much at the other teams. We just have to worry about ourselves. I’d love to nail one of these down. We’ve never been off the podium at the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series yet, but we haven’t won an event yet either. I’d love to see us win in New York.”

Oracle Team USA will have six sailors in New York and select the five man crew ahead of each race day. The six sailors are:

Jimmy Spithill – Skipper/Helmsman
Tom Slingsby – Tactician
Kyle Langford – Wing Trimmer
Joe Newton – Trimmer
Matt Cassidy – Bow
Sam Newton – Bow

“We’re adding Matt Cassidy to the crew for New York, but it’s challenging to integrate new sailors at these events,” Slingsby said. “You can’t train very much on the AC45F race boats, so we’re hoping to get Matt some time on board during the limited sailing we have on Thursday and in practice racing on Friday.”

For Cassidy, a former standout American college sailor, this would be his first time racing with the team he joined nearly two years ago.

“It’s very exciting to think I could be getting into an official race after all this time sailing with the guys in Bermuda,” Cassidy said. “The main difference in New York compared to what we’re doing here in Bermuda is that these races count. We want to win. It’s not testing; it’s not practice. Every race we sail in the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series counts, so you have to perform.

“I sailed on the non-foiling AC45 boats back when I tried out with the team in 2014, but that’s the closest I’ve been to sailing on one of these boats. So I’ve been looking at a lot of video footage and talking to the guys, getting help from our coach, but at a certain point you just need to get out there and get into it.”

Oracle Team USA continues to train and test from its base in Bermuda, with the race crew scheduled to arrive in New York next week.

“Everything we’re doing in Bermuda is geared towards preparing for the America’s Cup next year. These test boats are very different to the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series boats. We do a lot of testing here, but not a lot of racing.

“So it’s a bit of a transition to get back into race mode, to prepare for short course racing, with boundaries and five other boats on the course with you. But we have to be ready. We have to be good at both – the testing here, and the racing on the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series.”

Racing in New York is on May 7 and May 8 at 2pm local time.

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