Photos © Gilles Martin-Raget / ACEA 2013
America's Cup World Series Naples 'Super Sunday'
ORACLE TEAM USA win the America's Cup World Series 2012-2013
Luna Rossa, ORACLE TEAM USA winners
Led by helmsman Francesco Bruni, Luna Rossa Swordfish today won the overall championship of the America's Cup World Series Naples.
Bruni posted a thrilling win in the fleet racing finale, coming from behind on the final run in a race that saw the lead change hands three times.
The win was cathartic for the emotional Italian helmsman. Earlier in the day Luna Rossa Swordfish lost the match racing championship to ORACLE TEAM USA SLINGSBY. Bruni was critical of his performance in the loss after leading the match early on.
"This win was the only way to forget our mistake in the match racing," said Bruni, who will be the tactician aboard Luna Rossa Challenge's AC72 in the upcoming Louis Vuitton Cup, America's Cup Challenger Series (July 4-Aug. 30).
"The fleet race win really means a lot to me. We had an opportunity for the double win, but just missed out. I can't thank my crew enough, Paul Campbell-James, Max Sirena, Xabi Fernandez and Manuel Modena. They did a great job today."
Slingsby delivered on his stated goal: to secure the overall 2012-2013 America's Cup World Series season championship for ORACLE TEAM USA, the defense team in the upcoming 34th America's Cup (Sept. 7-21). He wrapped up that championship yesterday and today added the match racing title as well.
"I'm really proud to be getting the America's Cup World Series trophy for ORACLE TEAM USA," said Slingsby. ORACLE TEAM USA also won last year's championship. "Jimmy Spithill and his team set it up for us. We just had to come here, do our best and luckily he gave us enough of a lead to take home the trophy."
The second America's Cup World Series Naples surpassed last year's event in terms of spectators. Local event officials estimate that more than 1 million people have turned out along the Naples waterfront and in the Race Village to enjoy the week-long event.
The crowds began coming out in force last Sunday with some 100,000 people estimated to have lined the shores of the Bay of Naples for the informal coastal race. The fans kept returning, lured by close racing yards from the shoreline and nightly entertainment at the Race Village.
Slingsby won the match racing championship by overtaking Bruni on the second upwind leg. After trailing by 22 seconds at the leeward gate, Slingsby showed the moves that have earned him the nickname "the wind whisperer" due to his ability to sniff out wind shifts and puffs.
"It was so shifty that I honestly thought we had a good chance," said Slingsby. "I knew if we could get them out of phase on the shifts and we were in phase, huge gains could be made. We said we could catch them and I'm so glad that we did."
Slingsby passed Bruni when the Italian failed to cover. Until that moment, Bruni had sailed a brilliant match. He showed great patience in the pre-start, stuffing Slingsby and holding him off the course.
"We did everything perfectly until that moment," said Bruni. "We made a couple of big mistakes on the last upwind leg. The wind was shifting a lot and we had a couple of bad tacks where boat completely stopped."
Second place in the America's Cup World Series season championship went to Chris Draper and Luna Rossa Piranha. The defending champions at America's Cup World Series Naples placed fourth overall this year.
"I think we were going so well just before event, we probably got a little bit expectant and ahead of ourselves," said Draper, the helmsman of Luna Rossa's AC72. "But we're pleased to place second overall in the series. There are a lot of good teams out here."
America's Cup World Series Naples wraps up the 2012-13 America's Cup World Series season. The focus now shifts to the "Summer of Racing" planned for San Francisco. It begins in July with the Louis Vuitton Cup, the America's Cup Challenger Series, and concludes in September with the America's Cup Finals.
America's Cup World Series Naples Championship Standings:
1. Luna Rossa Swordfish (Francesco Bruni) – 80pts
2. ORACLE TEAM USA (Tom Slingsby) – 80pts
3. Emirates Team New Zealand (Dean Barker) – 71pts
4. Luna Rossa Piranha (Chris Draper) – 70pts
5. J.P. Morgan BAR (Ben Ainslie) – 65pts
6. Energy Team (Yann Guichard) – 58pts
7. Artemis Racing White (Charlie Ekberg) – 40pts
8. HS Racing (R. Hagara/H.S. Steinacher) – 36pts
9. China Team (Mitch Booth) – 30pts
America's Cup World Series Naples Match Racing Championship:
1. ORACLE TEAM USA SLINGSBY
2. Luna Rossa Swordfish
3. J.P. Morgan BAR
4. Luna Rossa Piranha
5. Emirates Team New Zealand
6. Artemis Racing White
7. Energy Team
8. HS Racing
9. China Team
2012-2013 America's Cup World Series Season Championship:
1. ORACLE TEAM USA SPITHILL/SLINGSBY – 245pts
2. Luna Rossa Piranha – 191pts
3. J.P. Morgan BAR – 181pts
4. Emirates Team New Zealand – 171pts
5. Energy Team – 160pts
6. Artemis Racing White – 160pts
7. Luna Rossa Swordfish – 151pts
8. Team Korea – 105pts
9. ORACLE TEAM USA COUTTS – 98pts
10. Artemis Racing Red – 90pts
11. China Team – 73pts
12. HS Racing – 36pts
2012-2013 America's Cup World Series Match Racing Championship:
1. ORACLE TEAM USA SPITHILL/SLINGSBY - 29pts
2. Emirates Team New Zealand – 22pts
3. Artemis Racing White – 21pts
4. ORACLE TEAM USA COUTTS – 16pts
5. J.P. Morgan BAR – 15pts
6. Energy Team – 15pts
7. Luna Rossa Swordfish – 14pts
8. Luna Rossa Piranha – 13pts
9. Artemis Racing Red – 8pts
10. China Team – 5pts
11. Team Korea – 5pts
12. HS Racing – 3pts
Victory for Luna Rossa (from Luna Rossa)
Clouds and sun alternate during the day, with unstable winds from South-West 10-12 knots and flat sea.
A good start at the pin end for both Luna Rossa, although Oracle and Energy sneak through and round the reaching mark and the downwind gate in front of the fleet, with Luna Rossa Swordfish and Luna Rossa Piranha respectively 3rd and 4th.
While the two leading boats choose the right side of the course the two Luna Rossa split and attack on the left side. Luna Rossa Piranha comes back half way up the windward leg and goes deep to the shore, whereas Luna Rossa Swordfish stays on the left side where she finds more pressure. At the windward gate the positions are unchanged and Swordfish (3rd) is penalized for boundaries. Luna Rossa Piranha is still 4th, closing the gap on the leaders.
On the downwind leg Energy is favored by a wind shift that allows her to overtake Oracle at the gate; Swordfish and Piranha are still 3rd and 4th and go for the right end of the gate. Oracle attacks on the right and regains its lead over Energy. At the same time the two Luna Rossa come back on the right and this choice allows Swordfish to round the windward gate 2nd on the left end.
Oracle takes an opposite choice and starts the downwind leg on the left, whereas Luna Rossa Swordfish chooses the right where a favorable puff and a better pressure allow her to take the lead of the race. Luna Rossa Swordfish keeps her position to cross the finish line 1st, thus winning both the race and the overall final fleet race ranking of the Naples America's Cup World Series.
Luna Rossa Piranha, 4th at the windward gate, shares the Swordfish's tactic choice and overtakes Energy, finishing the race 3rd and the final ranking in 4th place at only one point from Emirates Team New Zealand.
Patrizio Bertelli, Team Principal of Luna Rossa Challenge 2013, declared: "I was very pleased to see the team's progress during its training period in New Zealand. I did appreciate the final result of these series but I was especially pleased with Francesco Bruni's start in the final match race."
Luna Rossa Skipper Max Sirena declared: "I would like to thank the whole team for its effort and dedication during these races, until the last leg of the racing and both on board and ashore: they never give up. The result is encouraging: we were close to the perfect final and to the third place in the overall fleet race ranking with Chris Draper, who proved once again to be up to our expectations."
Notwithstanding its text-book start, Luna Rossa Swordfish loses the match against Oracle Team USA – Slingsby after being in control for ¾ of the race. At the start Checco Bruni is in control leeward of Slingsby and, at the signal, closes the gate, luffs Oracle and "parks" him. This maneuver allows Bruni to gain a good lead and to round the both the reaching mark and the downwind gate with a comfortable advantage. In the first beat Luna Rossa Swordfish increases her lead and rounds the windward mark 19'' ahead of Oracle, a gap that will be maintained throughout the downwind leg and up to the gate.
Half way up the second windward a left wind shift favors Oracle who is on the right side of the shift and crosses in front of Luna Rossa Swordfish and rounds the mark in the lead. On the last downwind leg Luna Rossa Swordfish cannot close the gap and is therefore second in the overall match race ranking of the ACWS Naples event.
ORACLE TEAM USA wins match in Naples and captures overall ACWS season championship (from ORACLE TEAM USA)
Three America's Cup World Series regattas this season, and three match racing titles for ORACLE TEAM USA. On Sunday in Naples, Italy, skipper Tom Slingsby and crew secured the third, defeating Luna Rossa Swordfish in the match race final. After a second-place finish in the Super Sunday fleet race, ORACLE TEAM USA also wraps up a successful season and claims the overall ACWS 2012-13 season championship.
"We are really proud to be getting the trophy for ORACLE TEAM USA," said Slingsby. "Obviously, Jimmy Spithill and his team really set it up for us and we just had to come here, do our best. Luckily, they gave us a big enough points lead to take home the trophy."
ORACLE TEAM USA entered the ACWS Naples carrying a 44-point lead in the season standings with skipper Jimmy Spithill at the helm. While he remained in San Francisco to prepare for the team's second AC72 to launch, Slingsby took the reins. With today's results, ORACLE TEAM USA captures the ACWS season championship with 245 points, followed by Luna Rossa Piranha (191) and JP Morgan BAR (181). Spithill guided ORACLE TEAM USA to the inaugural ACWS championship last year.
On the match race final start, Luna Rossa Swordfish pinned ORACLE TEAM USA inside to lead off the line. Slingsby was behind through the first four gates. On the fifth leg, the crew made up ground, closing what was once a more than 100-meter gap, to gain the advantage. ORACLE TEAM USA rounded the final two gates in the lead, and extended across the finish line to win by more than 30 seconds.
"A great win for the team," Slingsby said. "Luckily it was a long race, and half way through we were quite a bit behind. But, I said to the boys, we're still in this. Slowly, but surely, we caught up and made the passing maneuver on the last beat, and went on to hold it from there."
ORACLE TEAM USA won each of the match racing titles at ACWS events this season. Russell Coutts guided a crew to the win at the ACWS San Francisco in August 2012, and Spithill and crew took the win at the ACWS San Francisco in October 2012.
Slingsby carried course knowledge learned from the match race into the Super Sunday final fleet race, where bonus points were on the board. After a slingshot start, ORACLE TEAM USA took the early lead. Energy Team moved ahead at the third gate, and Slingsby met Luna Rossa Swordfish again at the mark.
On the fifth leg, ORACLE TEAM USA moved ahead, taking advantage of a big lift of wind. But, following the sixth gate, Slingsby was forced to bear away from China Team and lost ground. Luna Rossa Swordfish took the late lead and carried it across the finish line. ORACLE TEAM USA finished second.
"The racing was so shifty, the positions were changing all the time, going up the last beat I felt we had it in the bag," Slingsby said. "But, unfortunately we fell into a bit of a hole up the last beat, we took the wrong mark at the top, didn't lay the mark we wanted, and we paid the price. Swordfish passed us and they took the overall honors."
ORACLE TEAM USA and Luna Rossa Swordfish finished tied with 80 points in the overall regatta fleet race standings, but the tiebraker went to Luna Rossa Swordfish for the win in the final race. Emirates Team New Zealand finished third at the ACWS Naples with 71 points, followed by Luna Rossa Piranha (70) and JP Morgan BAR (65).
The team now turns attention to the launch of their second AC72 on Tuesday, April 23, in San Francisco, marking the start of the next phase of training for the 34th America's Cup Final in September.
Last day in Naples (from Emirates Team New Zealand)
The final day of racing in Naples came on the 'Super Sunday' where it was triple points. Not a great day for the team but they wrapped up the regatta in 3rd place overall.
Energy Team just off the podium (from Energy Team)
The crew of the French ENERGY TEAM led by Yann Guichard came close to pulling off something of a shock on Sunday in the seventh and final race in the America's Cup World Series, in Naples. After getting off to an excellent start, the French quickly moved to the front of the fleet ahead of the Americans on Oracle Team USA led by Tom Slingsby with whom they went on to fight a duel. But in the end, after an exceptionally exciting race, it was the Italians on Luna Rossa Swordfish led by the excellent Francesco Bruni, who went on to win in front of the local crowds, who had turned up in their thousands in Naples. ENERGY TEAM finished in 4th place on Super Sunday and sixth in the overall rankings for the ACWS Naples.
Fleet Race 7: The French get off to a good start
The conditions were just right today (Sunday) in the Bay of Naples, where it was time for Super Sunday, the final fleet race counting towards the 2013 America's Cup World Series.
All of the competitors set off as the gun was fired, with Oracle Team USA crossing the line first just ahead of the French on ENERGY TEAM, who then went on to grab the lead shortly afterwards. A long duel would follow between the two frontrunners, who regularly passed in front of each other with the lead going from one to the other. Quite some way back, the two Luna Rossa boats were battling it out followed by Ben Ainslie (BAR) and Emirates Team New Zealand with the mighty Dean Barker at the helm.
The French keep up
As they rounded Gate 3, the French were in the lead and sailed off to the left hand side of the race course, while Oracle was struggling with the Italians on Luna Rossa Swordfish, who moved into second place. ENERGY TEAM had a lead of twenty seconds at the mark, sped away at the front at almost 18 knots under gennaker, with a lead of 100 metres over Luna Rossa and Oracle. But you could rely on the talent of the Americans to make a comeback and they rounded Gate 4 just 3 seconds behind the French.
Luna Rossa makes a comeback
ENERGY set off to the right-hand side of the course with Oracle going to the left, followed by the two Luna Rossa boats, while Ben Ainslie was some way back. Oracle went on to take the lead in the race in this long upwind leg taking the fleet to mark 5. It was as they rounded this windward gate that Francesco Bruni's Italians got back in the running and pipped the French to the post. At Gate 5, Oracle set off to the left and Luna Rossa went to the right followed by ENERGY TEAM, who gave it their all on this final downwind leg. But Luna Rossa would soon gybe to catch Oracle and take the lead, while the French continued on their long leg on the left towards mark 6. The French were in third place at the sixth mark before getting overtaken by Luna Rossa Piranha. The final leg to the finish saw victory go to Francesco Bruni on Luna Rossa Swordfish, ahead of Tom Slingsby on Oracle Team USA, Luna Rossa Piranha and Energy Team.
Bruno Peyron: "Clearly it was a mix today of some good things and other things that were not quite as good on Super Sunday. Once again Yann got off to a great start, which has improved his statistics to a success rate of more than 80% in terms of fast starts. Then, there was an exciting battle with Oracle Team USA. We grabbed the lead on the third leg, but chose the wrong side for 30 seconds and at this level, you can't afford such mistakes. The penalty at the final mark was however more difficult to understand, but that's part of the game and we have to accept that. We would have liked to finish with a performance matching our ambitions, but we have to come to terms with the fact that the Top Teams are out in front. The group showed that they have the standard required to fight at the highest level in these World Series events. But we still need to have the means to achieve those ambitions. That will be the next stage: we need to give the team the means to fight, not just enabling them to pull off a miracle now and then, but consolidating everything for the long term."
America's Cup World Series concludes in Naples (from Artemis Racing)
After nine successful America's Cup World Series events, the revolutionary concept which has changed the landscape of sailing, concluded yesterday afternoon in Naples. Nowhere has this circuit's successful concept of stadium racing been more evident than in Naples, with close to one million spectators out to watch the nine teams battle it out on the Gulf of Naples.
ORACLE Racing – Slingsby, with Australian Tom Slingsby at the helm, dominated the event and swiftly defeated Luna Rossa Swordfish in the match race finals, giving further evidence that the future of sailing truly is in the hands of the young, up and coming sailors.
Going into yesterday's fleet racing, it could have been anyone's event, with 40 points up for grabs for the winning team. Competition was intense with lighter air and shifty conditions on Super Sunday.
It was the hometown favourites, Luna Rossa Swordfish, who took the bullet in the fleet racing giving Francesco Bruni's team the overall win for the fleet racing element of the ACWS Naples. In second place, was ORACLE Racing – Slingsby followed by Luna Rossa Piranha.
Onboard Artemis Racing White, young Swedish helmsman Charlie Ekberg, the newcomer to this ultra-professional fleet, executed an excellent start to plan, but a slow gybe at the first reach mark and a misgauged call on the second upwind meant the team didn't quite achieve the results they had hoped for. It's been a steady week of improvement for the team however, despite the overall finish in seventh position. It's also been a once in a lifetime experience for young Swedish helmsman Charlie Ekberg who has his sights firmly set on the Red Bull Youth America's Cup in September.
The Artemis Racing team wore black arm bands yesterday, in honour of Swedish America's Cup and Volvo Ocean Race veteran Magnus Olsson who passed away yesterday and was an inspiration to us all.
The team now returns to San Francisco where training continues for the Louis Vuitton Challenger Selection Series which begins on 4 July.