America’s Cup World Series: Spithill Wins…Mostly

Oracle Skipper, James Spithill. Photo courtesy of 34th America's Cup/Gilles Martin-RagetOracle’s Jimmy Spithill has won both the fleet portion of the racing at the Newport America’s Cup World Series regatta and the overall title for the 2011-12 America’s Cup World Series. But teammate and Oracle CEO Russell Coutts denied him all the glory by winning the match racing portion of the Newport regatta.

In a four-day regatta market by sunshine and good breeze—as befitted the return of America’s Cup competition to the the place that played such an import role in making it what it is—Spithill often made it look easy, thanks to excellent boatspeed and tactics. But the tenacious eight-boat fleet made it clear that neither the upcoming 2012-13 series nor the America’s Cup finals in 2013 will be a cakewalk.

Indeed, it could have been a very different story if Dean Barker’s Emirates Team New Zealand crew hadn’t been forced out of the match racing series when they capsized and damaged the upper portion of the wing. As it was, the team came back strong, finishing 2-3-1 in the next three fleet races on their way to securing a second-place overall finish for the six-regatta series.

U.S. skipper Terry Hutchinson and the Swedish Artemis team had a disappointing regatta, getting knocked out in the match racing semifinals by Spithill and finishing fourth or lower in all but one of the fleet races and the speed event. Nonetheless, the team’s strong performance earlier in the season was sufficient to secure the overall match racing win for the series.

Next stop is San Francisco, for the start of the 2012-13 America’s Cup World Series on August 21. For compete results on the Newport regatta and details on the upcoming racing on the West Coast, click here.

Photo courtesy of 34th America's Cup/Gilles Martin-Raget

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