ORACLE TEAM USA wins 34th America's Cup

ORACLE TEAM USA won the 34th America’s Cup in a winner-take-all 19th race, defeating challenger Emirates Team New Zealand by 44 seconds in today’s clincher. Led by 35-year-old skipper Jimmy Spithill, ORACLE TEAM USA won by the score of 9-8.

This is the second America’s Cup win for ORACLE TEAM USA and Spithill, which won the 162-year-old trophy in Valencia, Spain, in February 2010. Then 30 years of age, Spithill became the youngest to ever skipper a Cup winning team.

In the past week ORACLE TEAM USA has steadily improved its boatspeed to the point where it could hydrofoil upwind at 30-32 knots, incredible performance never seen before in the America’s Cup.

“It was a fantastic race. We wouldn’t have it any other way,” said Spithill, the two-time Cup winner. “We came from behind, the guys showed so much heart. On your own you’re nothing, but a team like this can make you look great… We were facing the barrel of a gun at 8-1 and the guys didn’t even flinch.

“Thanks to San Francisco, this is one hell of a day,” Spithill said.

ORACLE TEAM USA’s victory marks one of the most improbable comebacks in the history of sport. The team won 11 races to score the 9 points required for victory due to a penalty imposed by the International Jury. Just last Wednesday, Sept. 18, ORACLE TEAM USA trailed the series 8-1. With the challenger on match point, the defender closed out the series with eight consecutive victories.

This was the third time in the history of the America’s Cup with a winner-take-all final race. Previously, the defender won in 1920 and the challenger won in 1983. Both times the winner rallied from a multi-race deficit, but never anything amounting to eight straight wins.

“This was a wonderful match of teams,” said Regatta Director Iain Murray, who’s been involved with the America’s Cup since 1983. “In the case of a boat coming from behind, 3-1 down as was the case with Australia II in 83, the shoe is on a different foot this time around. Then it was the challenger behind and this time it was the defender. But in the end we had great competition between two great teams, evenly matched, battling it out to the end.”

Emirates Team New Zealand (Photo by Miranda Hoang)

One million fans visited the official America’s Cup venues at Piers 27/29 and Marina Green since they opened on July 4, and hundreds of thousands more lined the shores of San Francisco Bay to catch a glimpse of the flying, foiling AC72.

Dean Barker, ETNZ Skipper (Photo by Miranda Hoang)

34th America’s Cup Standings (first to 9 points wins)

ORACLE TEAM USA – 9 (11 wins; ORACLE TEAM USA was penalized its first two victories by the International Jury)
Emirates Team New Zealand – 8

Race 19 Performance Data
Course: 5 Legs/10.07 nautical miles
Elapsed Time: OTUSA – 23:24, ETNZ – 24:08
Delta: OTUSA +:44
Total distance sailed: OTUSA – 11.9 NM, ETNZ – 12.2 NM
Average Speed: OTUSA – 30.55 knots (35 mph), ETNZ – 30.55 knots (35 mph)
Top Speed: OTUSA – 44.33 knots (51 mph), ETNZ – 45.72 knots (53 mph)
Windspeed: Average – 18.2 knots, Peak – 21.3 knots
Number of Tacks/Jibes: OTUSA – 9/7, ETNZ – 9/7

34th America’s Cup Race by Race
Race 1 (Sep. 7): Emirates Team New Zealand d. ORACLE TEAM USA by :36
Race 2 (Sep. 7): Emirates Team New Zealand d. ORACLE TEAM USA by :52
Race 3 (Sep. 8): Emirates Team New Zealand d. ORACLE TEAM USA by :28
Race 4 (Sep. 8): ORACLE TEAM USA d. Emirates Team New Zealand by :08*
Race 5 (Sep. 10): Emirates Team New Zealand d. ORACLE TEAM USA by 1:05
Race 6 (Sep. 12): Emirates Team New Zealand d. ORACLE TEAM USA by :46
Race 7 (Sep. 12): Emirates Team New Zealand d. ORACLE TEAM USA by 1:06
Race 8 (Sep. 14): ORACLE TEAM USA d. Emirates Team New Zealand by :52*
Race 9 (Sep. 15): ORACLE TEAM USA d. Emirates Team New Zealand by :47
Race 10 (Sep. 15): Emirates Team New Zealand d. ORACLE TEAM USA by :16
Race 11 (Sep. 18): Emirates Team New Zealand d. ORACLE TEAM USA by :15
Race 12 (Sep. 19): ORACLE TEAM USA d. Emirates Team New Zealand by :31
Race 13 (Sep. 20): ORACLE TEAM USA d. Emirates Team New Zealand by 1:24
Race 14 (Sep. 22): ORACLE TEAM USA d. Emirates Team New Zealand by :23
Race 15 (Sep. 22): ORACLE TEAM USA d. Emirates Team New Zealand by :37
Race 16 (Sep. 23): ORACLE TEAM USA d. Emirates Team New Zealand by :33
Race 17 (Sep. 24): ORACLE TEAM USA d. Emirates Team New Zealand by :27
Race 18 (Sep. 24): ORACLE TEAM USA d. Emirates Team New Zealand by :54
Race 19 (Sep. 25): ORACLE TEAM USA d. Emirates Team New Zealand by :44
(* ORACLE TEAM USA’s first two victories don’t count towards is scoreline as part of a penalty issued by the International Jury.)

ORACLE TEAM USA (Photo by Miranda Hoang)

As the sun sets on San Francisco and another America’s Cup the defenders keep the cup and look forward to the 35th America’s Cup and the new generation of sailing.

Sunset in San Francisco (Photo by Miranda Hoang)

Final Match - Race Day 2 ( Photo © ACEA / PHOTO GILLES MARTIN-RAGET)

ORACLE TEAM USA notched their first win of the 34th America’s Cup in the fourth race of the regatta today in San Francisco. The crew crossed the line 8 seconds ahead of Emirates Team New Zealand in the second of two races on Sunday. New Zealand won Race 3 earlier in the day and hold the advantage in the series.

“It’s a real confidence boost for the boys,” said skipper Jimmy Spithill. “The boys really kept their composure. They bounced back after losing that first one – we should have won it – and it says a lot for the team.”

In Race 3, ORACLE TEAM USA took control and led around the first mark after Emirates Team New Zealand faced a penalty. The team carried the advantage on the downwind leg and around the second gate. In the midst of a tacking duel on the upwind leg, New Zealand claimed the lead and held on to finish 29 seconds ahead.

For Race 4, Spithill was in command at the start – both at the first mark and heading into the second gate when the bows dug into the water. ORACLE TEAM USA recovered and did not relinquish the lead, crossing the line 8 seconds in front.

“Honestly, I’m disappointed in the first race – we had a really good shot at winning that one. But, I’m happy with winning the second race today. I think it takes a little bit of the pressure off and it’s a big momentum boost for our team,” said tactician John Kostecki.

“We focused yesterday really on the tacking because our tacking was clearly not as good as theirs,” Kostecki continued. “It looks like we made some gains on that today. The gybes seem to be always getting better as well. So, we’re in pretty good shape to go out and attack on Tuesday.”

08/09/2013 - San Francisco (USA CA) - 34th America's Cup - (Photo © ACEA / PHOTO ABNER KINGMAN)

ORACLE TEAM USA reached a top speed today of 45.97 knots (53 mph) in Race 4 and averaged 30.99 knots (36 mph), both ahead of New Zealand.

Although ORACLE TEAM USA collected a win, Emirates Team New Zealand leads the series 3-0 in points due to a penalty imposed by the Jury. ORACLE TEAM USA will score its first point in its third victory.

“This team is very good under pressure and they will fight the whole way to the end,” Spithill said. “They will run themselves into the ground if that’s what it takes. It feels good to shift the momentum over to us. We’re going to work hard tonight and tomorrow and come out with the same attitude on Tuesday.”

Racing will resume on Tuesday, with the team using Monday as a training day on the water. Tuesday’s races begin at 1:15 pm PT and 2:15 pm PT – races No. 5 and 6 of the match.

In the U.S., the America’s Cup Finals will be broadcast live on NBC Sports Network. Internationally, the match can be viewed in more than 170 territories. Live racing and replays can also be viewed on the America’s Cup YouTube channel (subject to territorial restrictions).

RACE 3 DATA
Course: 5 Legs/9.94 nautical miles
Elapsed Time: ETNZ – 25:00, OTUSA – 25:28
Delta: ETNZ +:28
Total distance sailed: ETNZ – 11.8 NM, OTUSA – 12.1 NM
Average Speed: ETNZ – 28.57 knots (33 mph), OTUSA – 28.62 knots (33 mph)
Top Speed: ETNZ – 42.25 knots (49 mph), OTUSA – 41.37 knots (48 mph)
Windspeed: Average – 16.8 knots, Peak – 19.3 knots

RACE 4 DATA
Course: 5 Legs/9.94 nautical miles
Elapsed Time: OTUSA – 22:42, ETNZ – 22:50
Delta: OTUSA +:08
Total distance sailed: OTUSA – 11.7 NM, ETNZ – 11.7 NM
Average Speed: OTUSA – 30.99 knots (36 mph), ETNZ – 30.92 knots (36 mph)
Top Speed: OTUSA – 45.97 knots (53 mph), ETNZ – 44.98 knots (52 mph)
Windspeed: Average – 19.5 knots, Peak – 23.3 knots

STANDINGS
Emirates Team New Zealand – 3
ORACLE TEAM USA – 0

08/09/2013 - San Francisco (USA,CA) - 34th America's Cup - Final Match - Race Day 2 (Photo © ACEA / PHOTO GILLES MARTIN-RAGET)

 

San Francisco, Calif., 09/07/2013

San Francisco (USA,CA) - 34th America's Cup - Oracle vs ETNZ; Day 1 Racing

Emirates Team New Zealand has won the first race of the 2013 America’s Cup. But it wasn’t easy. The Kiwis led off the line and into the first mark. But ORACLE TEAM USA made a pass on the upwind leg, before the Emirates crew regained the lead for good on the second half of the beat.

Emirates Team New Zealand extended on the final run to win by 36-seconds.

“What we saw there was one hell of a yacht race,” said Emirates Team New Zealand skipper Dean Barker. “It’s nice to sneak away with a win.”

Race 1 Performance Data

  • Course: 5 Legs/9.71 nautical miles
  • Elapsed Time: ETNZ – 23:30, OTUSA – 24:06
  • Delta: ETNZ +:36
  • Total distance sailed: ETNZ – 11.7 NM, OTUSA – 11.4 NM
  • Average Speed: ETNZ – 30.07 knots (35 mph), OTUSA – 28.58 knots (33 mph)
  • Top Speed: ETNZ – 43.54 knots (50 mph), OTUSA – 42.51 knots (49 mph)
  • Windspeed: Average – 16 knots, Peak – 21 knots

The winner of the 34th America’s Cup will be the first to win 9 points. For the Kiwis that means nine race wins and for ORACLE TEAM USA it means 11, due to a penalty imposed by the International Jury. Racing is scheduled for Saturdays, Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays, with two races per day scheduled to start at 1:15 and 2:15 pm PT.

In the U.S., the America’s Cup Finals will be broadcast live on NBC and NBC Sports Network. Replays will be available on the America’s Cup YouTube channel. Racing on Saturday and Sunday will be broadcast live nationally on NBC, from 1:00 to 3:00 pm PT.

Internationally, the America’s Cup Final can be viewed in more than 170 territories. All racing is also live on America’s Cup YouTube channel (subject to territorial restrictions).

You can also follow racing with the America’s Cup App for android and iOS devices.

34th America's Cup - Oracle vs ETNZ; Day 1 Racing

Team Telefonica during leg 1 of the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12, from Alicante, Spain to Cape Town, South Africa. (Photo by Diego Fructuoso/Team Telefonica/Volvo Ocean Race)

Team Telefonica during leg 1 of the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12, from Alicante, Spain to Cape Town, South Africa. (Photo by Diego Fructuoso/Team Telefonica/Volvo Ocean Race)

 

Volvo Ocean Race leaders Team Telefónica were making final preparations for the heavy weather that lies ahead as the fleet charges into the third week of racing in Leg 1.

Two days after Telefónica snatched the lead from PUMA Ocean Racing powered by BERG, the crew led by Spanish Olympic gold medallist Iker Martínez commanded a narrow 29 nautical mile lead over their rivals on Sunday.

With a wet and wild ride across the bottom of the South Atlantic forecast to rocket them towards the finish line in Cape Town at speeds of 25 knots, Telefónica were making the most of the last of the stable 15-20-knot trade winds, conducting last-minute checks of their Volvo Open 70 before they pick up a cold front later in the week.

“We’ve been making the most of the weather to repair things that have cropped up over the fourteen days of racing,” said the team’s media crew member Diego Fructuoso. “Pablo (Arrarte) has been checking all the winches, Ñeti (Antonio Cuervas-Mons) has been checking all of the ropes and he has also been up the mast to see how things are doing there. Pepe (Ribes) has been checking out all of the hydraulics, Iker has been looking over the whole boat and Jordi (Calafat) has been making sure all of the sails are in good shape.”

 

Jono Swain (standing) and Ryan Godfrey look at sail trim in light air sailing. PUMA Ocean Racing powered by BERG during leg 1 of the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12, from Alicante, Spain to Cape Town, South Africa. (Photo by Amory Ross/PUMA Ocean Racing/Volvo Ocean Race)

Jono Swain (standing) and Ryan Godfrey look at sail trim in light air sailing. PUMA Ocean Racing powered by BERG during leg 1 of the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12, from Alicante, Spain to Cape Town, South Africa. (Photo by Amory Ross/PUMA Ocean Racing/Volvo Ocean Race)

Having sliced another five nm off Telefónica’s lead at the 1300 UTC position report, PUMA MCM Amory Ross said the mood on board Mar Mostro was positive.

“These boats can do 400 to 500 miles a day quite easily in good breeze, so in the immediate sense Telefonica’s lead is very manageable,” he said. “So long as we sail smart, avoid mistakes and force their hand, we feel good about our chances.”

After crossing the Equator in third, CAMPER with Emirates Team New Zealand skipper Chris Nicholson promised his team would slowly chip away at the leg leaders — and at 1300 the gap between them and Telefónica was down to 147 nm. CAMPER were also the second quickest boat in the fleet with an average boat speed of 22 knots over the three hours running up to the latest report.

Navigator Will Oxley said the crew were preparing for the lack of rest that would come when the fleet pick up speed in winds of more than 30 knots.

“We’ve got another 1,200 miles of heading just east of south,” Oxley said. “It’s going to get quite cold quite quickly, the breeze is going to increase, and we’re going to go from having had plenty of sleep to a more sleep-deprived state again.”

Oxley said the way the teams dealt with the new weather system could prove crucial to the overall leg standings.

“Once we’re in heavy air running, the boat will be averaging 25 knots,” he added. “It’s pretty full on and you can easily damage a sail or the boat. If you stop and the other boats are doing 25 knots it’s easy to see how you can catch up 75 miles pretty quickly.”

Groupama Sailing Team during leg 1 of the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12, from Alicante, Spain to Cape Town, South Africa. (Credit: Yann Riou/Groupama Sailing Team/Volvo Ocean Race)

Groupama Sailing Team during leg 1 of the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12, from Alicante, Spain to Cape Town, South Africa. (Credit: Yann Riou/Groupama Sailing Team/Volvo Ocean Race)

Fourth-placed Groupama sailing team also gained miles as the fleet compressed, pulling back nine nm on the front runners. The French team, who were still paying for a tactical mistake made early in the 6,500 nautical miles leg from Alicante, Spain, said they were using the time to experiment with how to get the best from their boat.

Helmsman Charles Caudrelier said: “It felt like once we crossed the Equator, we would get to Cape Town soon. But actually the South Atlantic is very long and we will spend three, four, maybe five days on the same tack with almost the same wind and the same wind angle, just trimming the sails. It’s slightly boring but, at the same time, we learn a lot and have time to work on the boat’s trimming.”

Mike Pammenter getting set to go up for a rig check CAMPER with Emirates Team New Zealand during leg 1 of the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12, from Alicante, Spain to Cape Town, South Africa. (Credit: Hamish Hooper/CAMPER ETNZ/Volvo Ocean Race)

Mike Pammenter getting set to go up for a rig check CAMPER with Emirates Team New Zealand during leg 1 of the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12, from Alicante, Spain to Cape Town, South Africa. (Credit: Hamish Hooper/CAMPER ETNZ/Volvo Ocean Race)

Telefonica by Diego Fructuoso

Telefonica In The Lead (Photo by Diego Fructuoso/Team Telefonica/Volvo Ocean Race)

Telefónica snatched the lead from PUMA’s Mar Mostro on Monday just as the fleet prepared to enter the Doldrums and trust to luck. Anything could happen at this crucial stage of Leg 1 in the Volvo Ocean Race as the boats charge towards the infamous area just north of the Equator where weather systems converge.

“Crossing the Doldrums is done always with nervousness,” said Ken Read, skipper of PUMA Ocean Racing powered by BERG, who were passed by Team Telefónica at the 1300 UTC position report. “It’s always a bit of a crapshoot. You can do all your homework and enter where you think the right path through is and still get it very wrong.”

The Doldrums, officially known as the intertropical convergence zone, is a dynamic area of low pressure characterised by light winds but notorious for sudden squalls. Constantly changing shape, the Doldrums make up one of the trickiest areas of the planet to navigate and one that has caused the reshuffle of many an ocean race leaderboard.

“How you do in the Doldrums has a lot to do with luck,” explained Volvo Ocean Race CEO Knut Frostad, a four-time veteran of the race. “The Doldrums can give you cards to play with or no cards at all. It is crucial point in the race. It’s scary for the teams because it’s one of the only times they have absolutely no control.”

It’s an especially tough time for the navigators. Weather conditions are localised so they can’t be accurately predicted using computer software. Instead, the crews will have to rely on eyesight alone to deal with whatever Mother Nature decides to throw at them.

“You can forget about weather data or routing,” Frostad added. “You have to go on what you can see outside. It’s a very tense time.”

Telefónica, skippered by Spanish Olympic gold medallist Iker Martínez, reeled in PUMA in 12 hours on Monday morning and were less than a nautical mile in front at 1300 UTC, with around 250 nautical miles to sail to reach the Doldrums. The Volvo Ocean Race’s chief meteorologist Gonzalo Infante said he expected the first teams to be reaching the Doldrums by 0000 UTC on Tuesday.

“Once the first boats hit the Doldrums the fleet will compress as the leaders slow down in the light winds,” he said. “Depending on where the boats cross the Doldrums it could take them around 24 hours to pass through. Once out they will be into the southeast trades sailing fast towards Fernando de Noronha. The elastic band effect will be reversed and the distances between the boats will expand again.”

Speaking to Race Control this morning PUMA skipper Read said his crew were frustrated by Telefónica’s gains.

“Telefónica have a little better angle coming in right now,” he said. “Over the last few days they have eaten away at our lead and I wouldn’t be surprised if they were actually first into the Doldrums. We’re a little frustrated because we really liked our line and Telefónica’s line is proving to be a little better right now. Every three hours you get a report and it really sets the mood on the boat. There’s a tad of frustration that the wind gods haven’t played it exactly as we had planned but that’s life and we’ll get through it.”

Chris Nicholson’s CAMPER with Emirates Team New Zealand, around 70 miles to the west of PUMA, continued to see their hold on the leaders’ coat tails slip, with another nine miles lost between 1000 and 1300 UTC.

In the east Groupama continued to pay the price for taking a risky course close to the coast of Africa during the first phase of the 6,500 nautical mile leg to Cape Town. At the 1300 report they were 327nm behind the leaders doing 18 knots compared to Telefónica’s 20 knots.

Groupama helmsman Charles Caudrelier said their course would see them cross the Doldrums at its widest point – currently around 200 nm – but that could pay dividends in the sprint to Fernando de Noronha, the Leg 1 turning mark off the coast of Brazil.

“To cross the Doldrums well you need some knowledge but also some luck,” he said. “The further east you go the higher the risk is, but at the same time the angle when you’re out is more interesting for Fernando. It’s never an easy choice. You need to pick your entry point and cross your fingers.”

PUMA Ocean Racing (Photo  by Amory Ross/ PUMA Ocean Racing /Volvo Ocean Racing)

Groupama Sailing Team during leg 1  ( Photo by  Yann Riou / Groupama Sailing Team / Volvo Ocean Race )

Groupama Sailing Team during leg 1 ( Photo by Yann Riou / Groupama Sailing Team / Volvo Ocean Race )

Though Groupama 4 has taken the lead in the first leg of the Volvo Ocean Race after an option taking her down the Moroccan coast, the situation is more complicated this coming weekend, with the tradewinds having been snuffed out around the Cape Verde archipelago. After the return of Abu Dhabi to the racetrack, the fleet is now split into three groups, in three different weather systems… 

The next 72 hours are going to be extremely important for deciding which, of the group out West made up of the Spaniards on Telefonica, the Americans on Puma and the New Zealanders on Camper, or the solitary Groupama 4 slipping beneath the Canaries, will come off best from the complicated configuration reigning over the North Atlantic. During this time, Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing Team restarted the race from Alicante last night having had her spare mast stepped and is 850 miles astern of the French leader, offshore of Almeria, making laboured headway in the light Mediterranean airs… Three separate groups then, all in completely different weather conditions and yet they’re all set to converge on the equator, which is still more than 1,700 miles ahead!
Asthmatic tradewinds
At noon this Thursday, those favouring the West were making headway in a W’ly wind of around fifteen knots, beneath a vast depression which will reach Ireland on Friday, hoping to hook onto a N’ly breeze from Friday evening so they can drop due South at speed. If all goes to plan, they should make up the lost ground this weekend as the weather situation out West will be the first to change. For their part, Franck Cammas and his men were continuing their descent down the African coast in a not very pronounced tradewind system dishing out about a dozen knots. Already beneath the Canaries archipelago, the first mission for the crew of Groupama 4 is to get as far away from the area as possible as quickly as they can, before choosing their trajectory for the weekend.

“We are still sailing downwind in some rather weak tradewinds of 12-13 knots, hugging the Moroccan coast some ten miles or so away. We’re going to have to gybe early this afternoon to remain in a small band of N’ly breeze between Lanzarote and Morocco. This band will widen this evening as the wind builds. Conditions are good and Groupama 4 appears to be handling very well in this configuration. We saw the Canaries archipelago at daybreak with some very good visibility”, explained Franck Cammas at the noon radio session.
A doubt about the weekend
Indeed the tradewinds are likely to gradually die away over the next 72hrs, spanning a massive zone stretching from the Canaries to Brazil! With NE to N’ly winds of less than ten knots, Franck Cammas only has two choices: to continue to make southing by sailing along the coast of Mauritania and then Senegal, leaving the Cape Verde archipelago to starboard, or to attempt to make gains out to the West, so as to reposition himself along the route being taken by his rivals, so he too can hook onto the steadier breeze when it kicks in…

“In relation to our option taken after Gibraltar, we reckon Camper thought twice about following us. However, they fell into a hole with no wind, which forced them offshore, and they’re now set back from Telefonica and Puma. This isn’t doing them any favours, but there doesn’t appear to be a difference in speed with the rest of the fleet. Ours is a classic course in terms of trajectory, because hunting down the tradewinds isn’t usually a risky move, unless they disappear or fade, which seems to be the case at the moment. For the time being, we’ve had a good crack at what we wanted to do because we’re ahead of our routing, though we do have a doubt about tomorrow, Friday, and the arrival of a front which could snuff out the tradewinds. We’re going to have to try to make headway to the West by finding a vein of air to slip along on!”
Minor odd jobs
The next course decisions aren’t necessarily linked solely to mid-term tactical issues though. Indeed the navigators are having to cast their data nets at least five days ahead to anticipate how things will pan out after Cape Verde. As such they’re looking into how the Doldrums are shaping up, whether it will be active or not very pronounced, whether it will extend or retract its claws, whether it should be tackled between 20° and 25° West or, instead, a lot closer to Brazil at around 30° West… All these things will have to be taken into consideration as the crew of Groupama 4 make their decision tonight. In the meantime, the crew is racking up some rest hours in these calm conditions and doing a few little odd jobs left over from their passage through the Mediterranean…

“We didn’t suffer any damage in the Mediterranean, just a few attachments coming loose down below, which we’ve stuck back up today. There’s also been a mechanical issue with the hook to keep the second reef in place on the mainsail, which we’ve partly resolved. With our virtual lead this lunchtime on Thursday, the crew is in good spirits, even though we’re here on our own, but we’re likely to link up with the rest of the fleet at Cape Verde… We are well aware that our lead isn’t a done deal!”

Amory Ross, PUMA Ocean Racing Media Crew Member (Photo by Puma Ocean Racing / Volvo Ocean Race)

The PUMA Ocean Racing powered by BERG Propulsion team has appointed Amory Ross as the new Media Crew Member (MCM) onboard PUMA’s Mar Mostro for the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-2012.

Ross, 27, is based in Newport, Rhode Island, where he specializes in nautical photography, video and multi-media. He has logged offshore racing miles as both a crew member and onboard media specialist. Recently, he sailed on the 65-foot Vanquish as a member of the All-American Offshore Team during the Transatlantic Race 2011 and the 2011 Rolex Fastnet Race (third place).

“Amory is passionate about what he does, and it is evident the MCM role is a perfect fit for him,” skipper Ken Read said. “It’s exciting to see the enthusiasm he has for being part of the PUMA team, for the Volvo Ocean Race and also for capturing incredible content. We’re just beginning to witness his depth of talent and creativity, and we look forward to having him onboard during these next nine months and to watching everything he produces. I always tell him that his full-time job is to make us look good – which is certainly almost impossible and will really test his creative ability!”

Ross was a member of the Hobart College sailing team, winning the 2005 national championship. In his last year of college, he began taking photos and later expanded into video, blogs and other multi-media channels. During the past three years, he has split his time between Newport and Jackson, Wyoming, where he has worked as a ski instructor and expanded his portfolio.

“It’s definitely a ‘life’s dream’ kind of situation for me,” Ross said. “Ever since the Volvo Ocean Race added the onboard media crew member position I knew it’s what I wanted to do, where I wanted to be. Everything I have been practicing the last few years, the video and the big boat sailing, it has been done to make sure I have all of the necessary skill sets to take this kind of a job on and do it the right way. It’s an incredibly exciting opportunity – to combine my love and passion for sailing with my professional talents, and to do it for a company as exciting as PUMA. I get to sail around the world on a cutting-edge boat with the sport’s most experienced sailors. It’s never going to be easy, but I am really looking forward to the challenge.”

Ross replaces Arden Oksanen in the MCM role on the PUMA team. “Arden transitioned easily and adeptly from life in the mountains to living on the ocean with us. He’s a great guy whom we all enjoyed working with, and he was truly committed to the team. Recently, a decision was made to try a different angle with the images coming off the boat.” Read said. “It’s never easy to make changes on a team, but we are moving ahead and looking forward to Race Start in less than a month with Amory on board in the MCM role.”

During the nine months of the Volvo Ocean Race, the MCM captures all of the action. Ross will be filming, photographing, writing, editing, directing and managing satellite news feeds while at sea, broadcasting it via the latest technology around the world. His content will regularly appear on television news feeds, as well as on the PUMA sailing website, www.puma.com/sailing, www.VolvoOceanRace.com and social media platforms (Facebook, Tumblr, Twitter).

As stipulated by the Volvo Ocean Race regulations, MCMs aboard the Volvo Open 70s are not permitted to assist in sailing. However, in addition to his media responsibilities, Ross will assist in a variety of duties onboard, including food preparation.

Emirates Team New Zealand (Photo by Nico Martinez / Audi MedCup)

Emirates Team New Zealand (Photo by Nico Martinez / Audi MedCup)

 Emirates Team New Zealand took firm control of the Portugal Trophy Cascais regatta today when they convincingly won the 40 miles coastal race. While the team won four of the five 2009 regattas this is the first time they have won a coastal race. Puerto Calero lead the GP42 Series.
 
After they took the lead around the most westerly turning mark, off Cabo Raso, they were never challenged,  heading the fleet all the way down to the eastern extremity which was at the historic Belem Tower in Lisbon’s River Tajo.

Winning by one and a half minutes, the current champions extended their overall lead to a solid 14 points at the head of the regatta leaderboard as TeamOrigin, slipped from second place overall to fourth after they could only make a frustrating ninth place today.

The Kiwi team’s only minor hiccup was blowing out a gennaker at the Cabo Raso turn, but they very quickly regrouped and were able to dominate on the  long and very spectacular full speed run downwind in the strong northerly wind which gusted over 25 knots.

Audi MedCup Portugal Trophy Fleet Upwind (Photo by Ian Roman / Audi Medcup)

Audi MedCup Portugal Trophy Fleet Upwind (Photo by Ian Roman / Audi Medcup)

It was a demanding coastal race in every respect, finishing only 100 metres off the Marina of Cascais breakwater, where the wind carried the imprint of the buildings behind and so there was some place changing and interest until the end.

Matador (ARG) steered by Guilermo Parada (ARG) with Francesco Bruni (ITA) calling tactics made their biggest gains on this long run from the Cape and held on to second place all way round to the finish line, helping their climb back up the table to lie sixth overall.

But the frustration for TeamOrigin (GBR) will be to investigate why they slipped progressively down the fleet. They sailed a good race from a tactical point of view and lead early in the race, chasing Emirates Team New Zealand around the westernmost turn. But by the time they passed Cascais again they has already slipped three places, passed on both sides.

A ninth place finish does not do justice to their sailing as a crew today. TeamOrigin’s team director Mike Sanderson (NZL) admitted later ‘we just fell off the planet’ but that they felt they were slow before that turn, on the top of the upwind leg as well as on the long downwind, but they are looking at all options.

Third place across the finish line today elevates the Franco-German Audi A1 powered by All4ONE, skippered by Germany’s Jochen Schuemann, up to second overall but they are only half a point ahead of Sweden’s Aretmis, with TeamOrigin another half point behind them. Emirates Team New Zealand just need a solid day, a contrast to their opening here last Wednesday, to secure their fifth Audi MedCup Circuit Regatta in a row.

GP42 Series Puerto Calero pulls further out front
The breeze-on 20-25 knot conditions today were favorable to the Canarias-based Puerto Calero (ESP) team, who have pulled out to a 6-point lead over the nearest rival, Madrid-Caser Seguros (ESP) after seven races sailed. Their choice of a smaller heavy-weather jib looked wrong for the first race’s 15-20 knot conditions, but certainly came into its own in the second race’s gusty 25 knot blasts coming off the Cascais shoreline.

The first race saw the Iberdrola (ESP) team showing off their America’s Cup heritage, with flawless tactics and boathandling vaulting them into the lead ahead of AIRISESSENTIAL (ITA).

In the second race, Peninsula Petroleum (GBR) shook off the dust of a poor first race to win the start at the pin end and take an early lead, but the huge puffs rolling down the course put Puerto Calero into their own with that small jib, allowing them to take a lead they never relinquished. AIRISESSENTIAL also got back into the fray with much-improved crew work downwind and good pace upwind, but a broach suffered just after the last gybe into the finish pushed them back to fourth, behind Madrid-Caser Seguros and Peninsula Petroleum.

Portugal Trophy, Cascais
TP52 Series
Overall – Day 4
1. Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL), 6+11+1+1+4+2+1+1,5= 27,5 points
2. Audi A1 powered by ALL4ONE (FRA/GER), 9+7+4+6+1+5+5+4,5= 41,5
3. Artemis (SWE), 3+6+7+8+3+7+2+6= 42 
4. TeamOrigin (GBR), 4+9+2+4+2+1+7+13,5= 42,5
5. Synergy (RUS), 8+1+6+3+5+8+3+15= 49   
6. Matador (ARG), 7+2+5+9+8+12(DSQ)+6+3= 52
7. Quantum Racing (USA), 1+5+8+2+10+9+8+10,5= 53,5
8. Cristabella (GBR), 2+8+3+5+9+6+10+12= 55 points
9. Luna Rossa (ITA), 5+3+9+10+6+3+9+16,5= 61,5
10. Bribón (ESP), 10+10+10+12(DNC)+7+4+4+7,5= 64,5
11. Bigamist 7 (POR), 11+4+11+7+11+10+12(DNF)+9= 75

GP42 Series
Overall – Day 3
1. Puerto Calero (ESP), 1+1+2+1+2+3+1= 11 points
2. Madrid-Caser Seguros (ESP), 3+2+3+2+1+4+1= 17
3. Iberdrola (ESP), 2+5+1+3+3+1+5= 20
4. Peninsula Petroleum (GBR), 4+3+4+5+4+5+3= 28
5. AIRISESSENTIAL (ITA), 5+4+5+4+6(DNF)+2+4= 30

Audi Medcup (Photo by Ian Roman / Audi Medcup)

Audi Medcup (Photo by Nico Martinez / Audi Medcup)

Grant Dalton (NZ), foredeck or mast Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL):
“ We sailed all right. We got outside Origin at the top, then we blew a chute out, which wasn’t that flash. It had a little nick in it. But I think we are going reasonably quick.  Matador was reaching pretty well, but probably it has surprised us. And I’d say the bigger surprise was for Origin how slow they were reaching. It’s the first off-shore race, if we can call it offshore, that we won, in the five regattas last year we had never been better than second so that’s good, we sailed quite well.”

Mike Sanderson (NZL) team director TeamOrigin (GBR):
“ The first lap we were going really quick and go great and in the first two thirds of the way out to Cape Raso. It was going great and then we just sort of fell off the planet, to be honest, before we got to the mark, and ETNZ went from where they were right behind us to getting way up inside us and we just assumed that we had some current on, or had just been particularly unlucky with the shift or whatever, but  athen from that point on it was a very tough race we just seemed to be off the pace.
“We were just off the pace. We were slow jib reaching and we just shouldn’t be. We don’t know if we caught something because the problem is that after you finish you go back as you drop the main, so even if we did have something there you would not know it. If we did not have something there then we are certainly not be going to be looking forwards to the coastal races in the future. We just have to work through it. That’s why we are here, to build on our team work, on our relationship with our shore crew and designers and we have to work through the issues. Long term you probably need the bad days more than the good . After a good days it is easy. After the bad days we need to be sure that we are being totally honest with ourselves, and getting the best out of each other. The guys did an awesome job once again Ben started well and Percy and Bart (Andrew Simpson) and Juan Vila the guys are sailing really well. I mean, losing places when jib reaching is unheard of, and so we have to get to the bottom of it.”

Jean Marie Dauris (FRA), bowman Audi A1 powered by ALL4ONE (FRA/GER):
“ We’ve sailed well, just in the first downwind we’ve made some little mistakes and didn’t round the mark very well and that has cost us some places where we could have been second. But we’ve sailed a very good second downwind where we passed a good number of boats, and rounded second. We got beaten by Matador on the reach but we are very happy. We confirmed to ourselves  that we can sail this boat.”

Francesco Bruni (ITA),  tactician Matador (ARG):
“ We’ve managed to move up very quickly on the downwind, it was very quick. The fleet was very tight and we gybed last on the downwind and then we were third down, and  and from then on we’ve made a good race, a good beat, nice manouvers, up at Cabo Raso, a good gybe, and we’ve passed TeamOrigin, it seems they had some speed problems downwind, so we held our second position but it went very well.”

Jose Mª Ponce (ESP), skipper Puerto Calero (ESP):
“We are happy with how we performed today  though in the second race our start wasn’t that good, we set our small jib today because the conditions were good for it but the start was just bad and with such shifty conditions it’s difficult to move up.”
Laureano Wizner (ESP), skipper Iberdrola (ESP):
“ The first race was great and the second a disaster. In the last downwid we’ve broached twice when blowing the kite. We got apart from the group, the first broach happened when we where blowing the spi and then in the second one we were jybing and the spi sheet got caught. We are all very level, so any mistake is costly, and this wind amplifies them.”

Audi MedCup (Photo by Ainhoa Sanchez / Audi MedCup)

Audi MedCup (Photo by Ainhoa Sanchez / Audi MedCup)