Oracle Team USA has finally made good on its plan to run a two-boat campaign as both of its AC72s were launched and run through a series of test while sailing head-to-head on San Francisco Bay June 26. Testing on both AC72s is expected to continue right through until the start of the America’s Cup finals in September.
Skippers Jimmy Spithill and Ben Ainslie were joined by two full crews of 10 sailors each as they tried out a variety of different sails and settings during their time together out on the racecourse. Afterward, both skippers said it was a productive and rewarding day on the water.
“Now, we have two competitive boats,” Spithill said. “That’s a good position to be in, as you never know what’s around the corner. For us to have two boats, with two race wings and have a lot of depth in our sailing team, it certainly gives us a chance to produce more boat speed. And, from a racing point of view, it allows us to really learn the race track and build a playbook.”
The first Oracle Team USA AC72 was re-launched in February after the boat capsized on San Francisco Bay in late 2012. Oracle launched its second boat in late April.
Although challenger Emirates Team New Zealand has also brought both of its AC72s to San Francisco, it has thus far only sailed hull #2. Luna Rossa has only built a single boat, and Artemis’ first boat was destroyed last month in the same capsize that took the life of team strategist Andrew “Bart” Simpson. Artemis is not expected to launch its second boat until some time next month, possible after the start of the Louis Vuitton challenger series, July 7.
Photos by Guilain GRENIER / ORACLE TEAM USA