ORACLE TEAM USA begins its defense of the America’s Cup World Series next week at ACWS San Francisco, scheduled Aug. 21-26 in the host city of the 2013 America’s Cup.
“Racing on San Francisco Bay is going to be awesome,” said team skipper Jimmy Spithill. “The strong winds will put a premium on slick crew work and accurate decision making. We obviously want to start this second season with a win, and we’ll be hoping for a lot of support from the local fans.”
“I’m really looking forward to sailing on my home waters” said tactician John Kostecki, who grew up sailing on the Bay. “San Francisco is simply one of the best places in the world to go sailing, and with the racecourse placed close to shore there’ll be plenty of tactical opportunities to make gains using the current or favorable wind shifts.”
Joining Spithill and Kostecki are other members of the ACWS championship crew: Dirk de Ridder (wingsail trimmer), Joe Newton (headsail trimmer) and Piet van Nieuwenhuijzen (bow).
ORACLE TEAM USA’s second boat will be helmed by Russell Coutts, who won the ACWS Newport Match Racing Championship.
Coutts will race with Shannon Falcone, Kinley Fowler, Murray Jones and Sam Newton. Sam Newton raced with Coutts in Newport, and Jones and Coutts have raced many miles over the years. Falcone and Fowler will be racing in their first ACWS event.
The fleet’s grown to 11 boats and two skippers participating for the first time, have just returned from London 2012 with Olympic gold medals: Ben Ainslie (J.P. Morgan BAR) and Nathan Outteridge (Team Korea).
“Winning in this fleet is going to be really tough,” commented Coutts.
On Aug. 25, the penultimate day of ACWS San Francisco, ORACLE TEAM USA and the San Francisco Giants of Major League Baseball will team together to celebrate America’s Cup Day at AT&T Park. The Giants play a home game that day, scheduled to start at 1:05 pm, some 55 minutes before the start of the day’s ACWS racing program, and Spithill will throw out the first pitch. A wide range of activities are planned including the display of the America’s Cup and ORACLE TEAM USA’s two AC45 catamarans moored in McCovey Cove, adjacent to the ball park.
ORACLE TEAM USA SPITHILL – Jimmy Spithill (skipper/helmsman), John Kostecki (tactician), Dirk de Ridder (wingsail trimmer), Joe Newton (headsail trimmer), Piet van Nieuwenhuijzen (bowman)
ORACLE TEAM USA COUTTS – Russell Coutts (skipper/helmsman), Murray Jones (wingsail trimmer), Shannon Falcone (position), Kinley Fowler (position), Sam Newton (bowman)
Photo: Gilles Martin-Raget