ORACLE TEAM USA beat Groupama Team France for the second time in the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup Qualifiers, to retain its position at the top of the leaderboard.
But the team needed some quick thinking on board to effect a temporary repair to finish the race.
Skipper Jimmy Spithill was on the hunt from early in the pre-start period and after the French boat turned back to the starting line early, Spithill pounced, setting the hook and luffing Groupama into the wind, before pouring on the speed for a clean win across the starting line.
The 7-second lead across the starting line extended to 31-seconds at the bottom gate, and from there Spithill and crew extended until the final lap of the course, when the crew noticed an issue with the wing sail.
“We’ll have to nurse it in from here,” was the call from tactician Tom Slingsby, and that’s just what the team did, easing into a 1:56 win.
“We had an issue, a bit of a failure in the wing,” skipper Spithill said after the finish. “But that can happen. Kyle (Langford – wing trimmer) did a good job… put a bit of a band-aid on it and we were able to get through the race. But from that point on we were kind of in delivery mode.”
Conditions were good for racing again on Tuesday, with winds in the 9 to 11 knot range. The forecast is for lighter conditions on Wednesday, possibly below the lower limit for racing.
The crew on board for racing on Tuesday:
Skipper / Helmsman — Jimmy Spithill
Wing Trimmer — Kyle Langford
Tactician / Grinder — Tom Slingsby
Grinder — Louis Sinclair
Grinder — Kinley Fowler
Grinder — Ky Hurst
The win means ORACLE TEAM USA is sitting on a 5-1 record, at the top of the leaderboard.
Results and Leaderboard – Louis Vuitton America’s Cup Qualifiers (Team — wins / losses — points)
ORACLE TEAM USA — 5 / 1 — 6 points (including 1 bonus point)
Emirates Team New Zealand — 5 / 1 — 5 points
Land Rover BAR — 2 / 4 — 4 points (including 2 bonus points)
Artemis Racing — 2 / 5 — 2 points
SoftBank Team Japan — 2 / 3 — 2 points
Groupama Team France — 2 / 4 — 2 points
Photo Credit : Gilles Martin-Raget