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Our Crew for a Day contest is over, but the fun is about to start! Meet our Guest Racer, and follow him through stories, video and photos throughout his experience racing in Newport, Rhode Island, on an AC45.

July 1, 2012

Spithill Wins...Mostly

Oracle’s Jimmy Spithill has won both the fleet portion of the racing in Newport 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. Click here for details.

June 29, 2012

Race Day Photos & Post-Race Video

Rob Rich had a thrilling day yesterday, and we have the photos to prove it. We also have another snappy video produced by Meredith Laitos, where Rob captures what it was like to race on the AC45.

Check out our Crew for a Day photo gallery for more images of the day's events and our behind-the-scenes gallery to see the inner workings of the America's Cup operation.

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

June 28, 2012

Rob Rich Crews for a Day on Energy

Today we saw Rob off on a support boat after suiting up in 80 degree heat with official America’s Cup Team Energy apparel. Rob will spend the afternoon viewing the fleet and match races from the water, and will board Team Energy to participate in a match race.

Rob was stunned by the impressive America’s Cup operation and the moored AC45s when he arrived at Fort Adams. He said, “I’m excited about going out on the boat, obviously—it’s a once in-a-lifetime opportunity.”

After our video interview, before boarding his support vessel, he admitted, “I want to keep my mic on so you can hear me scream.”

SAIL staff and VIP guests enjoy the view, and record the day’s events starting with Oracle’s win in the morning fleet race.

June 27, 2012

Overall Series Win at Stake

By Adam Cort

In addition to providing the ride of a lifetime for SAIL’s crew for a day, Rob Rich, this week’s racing in Newport will also decide the winner for the inaugural six-regatta America’s Cup World Series.

Skipper Jimmy Spithill and ORACLE TEAM USA are currently in the lead, with a four-point advantage over Emirates Team New Zealand and skipper Dean Barker. But with 10 points available to the winner of each discipline here—match racing and fleet racing—and Terry Hutchinson’s Artemis Racing team still very much on the hunt, the overall win remains up for grabs.

“This is why we’re in the World Series, to be in regatta pressure and put ourselves on the line,” said Spithill. “I’d rather go into the final event four points clear than the other way, but it’s extremely close.”

Racing begins at noon on Thursday, and continues on through Sunday.

2011-12 AC World Series Overall Leaderboard

1. ORACLE TEAM USA Spithill - 84 points

2. Emirates Team New Zealand - 80 points

3. Artemis Racing - 71 points

4. Energy Team - 65 points

5. Team Korea - 56 points

6. ORACLE TEAM USA Coutts - 53 points

7. Luna Rossa Piranha - 34 points

8. China Team - 31 points

9. Luna Rossa Swordfish - 21 points

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

June 26, 2012

Practice Heats Up for Spectators

Today's practice off Fort Adams in Newport was anything but dull for those of us watching from shore. Several practice starts shot across the viewing area, with the rest of the harbor's traffic staying well out of the way...except for one of the Cup's own finish line boats. See the short video below for a bit of the drama when Emirates New Zealand put on a bit of a show for the spectators and clipped the bow of the official timing boat.

The starts were incredibly fast and close. Here's a short video that captures the fun.

The AC45s were clearly made for putting on a show, and that's exactly what they're doing this week in Newport. If you're anywhere near the action, it's worth the trip.

Images by Lindsey Silken

June 25, 2012

The Cup Returns to Newport

While Guest Racer, Rob Rich prepares for his trip to Newport this week, we at the SAIL office are also ready to step out the door and experience the action. The town of Newport has transformed, and visitors from near and far are getting a taste of the competition with team practices that are currently underway.

The best part of these next couple of days for us non-competitors is getting to share the harbor and sail side by side with the behemoth AC45s. We plan to do just that.

All photos courtesy of 34th Americas Cup/Gilles Martin-Raget

June 21, 2012

Congratulations to Our Contest Finalists

There were a whopping 1,000 entries in our Crew for a Day contest that ran from mid-April through June 4, 2012. The contest, hosted on Facebook, asked for a 50-word essay on readers' most memorable sailing experiences. After all, the winner was poised to have their most memorable sail ever. We were excited to offer the once-in-a-lifetime experience of racing in the America's Cup World Series on an AC45 to one of our readers, but choosing the right winner from a 50-word essay was no simple task. 

The range of entries was vast, and we were faced with a pool of enthusiastic, passionate sailors. The editors set about sifting through the responses. The process required several rounds of voting and heated discussions. In addition to our winner, introduced in the previous post, we had 10 favorite finalists, whose essays must be shared. Without further ado:

"Successfully running an unfamiliar inlet at night during a storm was for me my greatest moment under sail. The thrill of finding the sea buoy was surpassed only by the hair-raising experience of surfing thirty two feet of sloop down the breaking seas." -Philip, South Carolina

"In mid-August of 2010 I sailed 860nm from Gosport, U.K., to Landsend, U.K., and back then across the English Channel to France and back. Night and day, freezing my butt off and enjoying every minute of it." -Kenneth, Louisiana

"Beam reach from Watch Hill to Block. Auto pilot engaged, family dozing, beer in hand. Dial into the weekly partner meeting and had the most enjoyable conference call of my life! No one knew where I was." -Tom, California

"Surviving 75 knots on 27 footer between Block and Nantucket with 2 little daughters aboard. They are Naval Officers now." -Piotr, Connecticut

"I sailed a laser for the first time in July 2011. Never been on a dinghy before in my life. Sailed all 7 races at the Gulf Coast Laser Championships 2012 held in Galveston Bay, Texas, and did not always come in last place." -Greg, Texas

"Sailing on a Moth--the moment I started foiling, everything went quiet and it felt as though I were flying!" -Robin, Maryland

"I was East of the Bahamas in the Atlantic in 20' seas and 40 knot winds on a 40' catamaran. I realized how small I was in the universe and how great the forces of nature are. It was the most humbling experience in my life." -Daniel, Florida

"During my first season of sailing, it was blowing 20+, and raining sideways. I was wet, cold, and smiling like a mad man. I was hooked." -Steve, Michigan

"Hoisting the promotional spinnaker approaching The Heads in Sydney, yarns popping as the chute filled, at sunset on Imagine it. Done. After 1200 miles, we caught our final ocean breeze, before a 9 hour drift to the Opera House, where my wife waited." -Ron, Rhode Island

"Sailing in an open regatta in the sunfish fleet against my daughter and mother. 3 Generations on the water in the same class. My mother won the Women's award, and both my daughter and myself did well. I was swelling with pride." -Ryan, South Carolina

Congratulations to all our finalists and thanks to everyone who entered. We enjoyed reading each and every essay. 

June 19, 2012

America's Cup Crew for a Day Contest

Winner Announced

We're pleased to announce that the winner of our America's Cup Crew for a Day contest is Rob Rich from Round Rock, Texas! Crew for a Day accepted entries through Facebook, posing the question: "What was your most memorable sailing experience". We received 1,000 entries of just 50 short words each from across the country. Rob's essay stood out among the many different, poignant responses, for his love of what's at the heart of sailing. While he currently enjoys cruising, his first experiences on the water are what have stayed with him over the years. Here's what he said:

"My first boat was a Prindle 16. I have a Beneteau First 32 now, but my favorite moment in sailing was the first time I flew a hull on that used, $700 Prindle--it was like flying!"

Rob, who is originally from Buffalo, New York, has been an active sailor for many years. He bought the Prindle with his wife when they moved to Austin, Texas, to attend graduate school. Rich enjoys chartering in the Caribbean, Europe and the United States when he's not working on his boat or sailing with his wife and friends on Lake Travis. 

"I am incredibly excited to go out and tear it up on the 45s," said Rob. "I was just in San Francisco Bay with a friend sailing a Hunter 39, and all I could think was, 'This is pretty cool, but I'm going to be doing something way cooler'."

Congratulations, Rob! We're thrilled to be flying you to Newport, Rhode Island, for two nights where you'll race in the America's Cup World Series on June 28. Thanks to our generous sponsors, Harken and West Marine for their support and for providing Rob with a new waterproof backpack and gift card to West Marine. 

We look forward to meeting Rob next week, and sharing his experience every step of the way with photos, video and commentary. Check back here for continued news about next week's racing series. Thanks to everyone who entered the contest. We will be sharing some of our finalists' essays here!



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