SSV Oliver Hazard Perry: Tall Ship Passes Final Tests (photo © George Bekris)

SSV Oliver Hazard Perry shows its stature next to jet skis and a 12-Metre on Narragansett Bay last week. (Photo © George Bekris)

NEWPORT, R.I. (July 26, 2016) – The 200-foot Tall Ship SSV Oliver Hazard Perry caused heads to turn last week while she completed drills on Narragansett Bay under full sail and in brisk breezes. The drills, as well as inspections, have been required by the US Coast Guard in order for the ship to qualify as a Sailing School Vessel under USCG regulations. The three-masted, full rigged ship is Rhode Island’s official “Sailing Education Vessel” and carries 14,000 sq. ft. of sail area and seven miles of running rigging. Her tallest mast is 13 ½ stories high.

“We are very pleased with the way the crew has come together and that Oliver Hazard Perry has made it through all the complexities of Coast Guard certification to receive her USCG Certificate of Inspection,” said Captain David Dawes, who joined the ship three months ago. “The ship is performing as expected, and we’re confident we’ll be able to give trainees an excellent experience this summer.”

Crew on deck in 2014 (Photo © Jill Schneider)

Crew on deck in 2014 (Photo © Jill Schneider)

Teen and Adult Voyages

SSV Oliver Hazard Perry’s first trainees will board this weekend (July 31) in Boston during the first of this year’s two scheduled Teen Summer Voyages. The ship will sail with its students to several ports along the coast on its way to Portsmouth, N.H., where it will arrive on August 10. The second teen voyage is scheduled to depart Portsmouth on August 14 and arrive at Fort Adams State Park in Newport, R.I. (where the ship is based) on August 20. (Limited openings are still available for both sessions.)

SSV Oliver Hazard Perry also has just announced its first 2016 Adult and Family Voyage for Labor Day Weekend. It leaves from Fort Adams on Saturday morning, September 3, and returns the afternoon of Monday, September 5. The ship will sail in and around Narragansett Bay, with overnight anchorages that may include (depending on wind and weather) Dutch Harbor, the Sakonnet River, and Block Island. (Each participant under 18 must be accompanied by at least one adult; no prior experience is necessary, and no extraordinary fitness is required.)

SSV Oliver Hazard Perry under sail. (Photo © Onne van der Wal)

Although SSV Oliver Hazard Perry is a new 21st Century Tall Ship, participants of all ages who sail aboard her will connect with a long history of education-at-sea adventures, living aboard and working side-by-side with professional crew to learn square-rig seamanship – including bracing the yards, steering the ship and going aloft – on the first ocean-going full-rigged ship to be built in America in over a hundred years.

For more information on SSV Oliver Hazard Perry and its programs, visit or contact Follow OHPRI on Facebook and Twitter for current news and developments.


May 14, 2015. Volvo Ocean Race Practice Race in Newport. ( Photo by Ainhoa Sanchez /Volvo Ocean Race )

May 14, 2015. Volvo Ocean Race Practice Race in Newport. ( Photo by Ainhoa Sanchez /Volvo Ocean Race )

Volvo Ocean Race COO Tom Touber today joined Sail Newport’s Brad Read and Governor Gina Raimondo, to announce that the Race will be heading back to the Ocean State for the 2017-18 edition
–       Rhode Island town to host race for a second time in 2018
–       Governor Raimondo heralds Newport’s achievement
–       More port announcements to come in the New Year

NEWPORT, Rhode Island, October 30 – Newport, Rhode Island, will once again host the North American stopover for the 13th edition of the Volvo Ocean Race in 2017-18 following the success of the sailing-mad coastal town’s hosting of the world’s leading offshore event in May.

“We’re delighted to be able to confirm that Newport will be staging a second consecutive stopover in 2018,” said Race COO, Tom Touber, at Friday’s (October 30) official announcement.

Volvo Ocean Race COO, Tom Touber ( Photo by Cory Silken )

Volvo Ocean Race COO, Tom Touber ( Photo by Cory Silken )

“Everything worked brilliantly in Newport in May thanks to the great work of Brad Read and his team plus the backing of the Governor, legislative leaders and State of Rhode Island agencies, and we were delighted with the large amount of spectators from our major fan base in the U.S. and elsewhere, who supported the stopover.

“Moreover, the Newport stopover was greatly valued by our stakeholders, who very much enjoyed visiting the area for its history, culture and, of course, the commercial opportunities it provided.”

The news that Newport will again be hosting the event means that seven ports for the next edition of the 42-year-old race are already known.

The east coast port joins Alicante (Spain), Cape Town (South Africa), Auckland (New Zealand), Cardiff (United Kingdom), Lisbon (Portugal) and Gothenburg (Sweden) on the list of confirmed stopovers for the 2017-18 edition.

“The route is already shaping up very nicely, although we have several more key port announcements to come, probably early in the New Year,” added Touber.

Rhode Island Governor, Gina M. Raimondo, who joined Volvo Ocean Race officials and Stopover Director Brad Read in Friday’s announcement ceremony at the State Room in the State capital, Providence, said:

“Rhode Island looks forward to welcoming back the Volvo Ocean Race in 2018, and we’re honoured to be among this list of world-class port destinations.”

She added: “This year’s event was a great success, drawing more than 130,000 fans from across the U.S. and abroad. We look forward to once again showcasing Rhode Island as a great place to visit – and do business.”

Brad Read, who heads Sail Newport, which masterminded the stopover this year, was delighted to have the chance to repeat – and improve on – the success of their inaugural hosting of the round-the-world marathon.

“Sail Newport, the Department of Environmental Management, and State Leadership, together with all of our outstanding partners, organised and hosted the most successful North American stopover in Volvo Ocean Race history,” he said.

“We did this as a non-profit organization combined with a whole lot of community heart and passion because we knew the event would be a remarkable success.”

He continued: “I believe strongly that tourists, fans, sponsors and media will travel from all over the world to Rhode Island to be part of the next Newport stopover.

“Everyone wants the Race back here. The State, the marine, business, education communities, and fans, will follow the Race until it arrives back at Castle Hill in 2018.”

The precise dates of the fleet’s visit in 2018 are not yet known but will be announced when the full route is unveiled early next year.

May 17, 2015. Leg 7 Start in Newport; Crowds gather to watch the teams race in port before heading out towards Lisbon. (Photo by Marc Bow / Volvo Ocean Race )

May 17, 2015. Leg 7 Start in Newport; Crowds gather to watch the teams race in port before heading out towards Lisbon. (Photo by Marc Bow / Volvo Ocean Race )

Dedication of SSV Oliver Hazard Perry at Fort Adams, Newport Rhode Island (Photo by OHPRI/Kim Fuller)


by Kirsten Ferguson

Nothing But Rave Reviews for Rhode Island’s Sailing Education Vessel

NEWPORT, R.I. (July 10, 2013) – The SSV Oliver Hazard Perry was dedicated as Rhode Island’s Official Sailing Education Vessel at a dockside ceremony Saturday morning at Fort Adams State Park. Rhode Island Lt. Governor Elizabeth Roberts was among a half dozen local, state and Navy dignitaries to speak to an audience of approximately 600 supporters and had the distinguished honor of reading the official declaration proclamation on behalf of Governor Lincoln Chafee.

“In 2012, the legislature designated this ship as the state’s official Sailing Education Vessel, authorizing the ship to fly the state flag at sea and in port and to act as the state’s ambassador as she sails the world’s waters,” read Roberts. “With my power and with these words, I dedicate the Oliver Hazard Perry as Rhode Island’s official Sailing Education Vessel and wish her fair winds and smooth seas as she spreads the wisdom of our forefathers and modern scholars to all who visit and study aboard her.”

Dedication Ceremony (Photo by OHPRI/Kim Fuller)

At the end of her speech, Roberts ordered the ship’s commander, Captain Richard Bailey, to “set the first watch,” which was represented by the hoisting of the American flag at the ship’s stern, followed by a gun salute from the Artillery Company of Newport and the manning of the rails by nine Navy sea cadets. (The Northeast Navy Band also was present at the event.) A final flag, declaring “Don’t Give up the Ship”—just as Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry’s did in 1813 when he captured the British fleet and its flagship in the Battle of Lake Erie—was raised to the highest point of the ship’s three lower masts, which were draped from stem to stern with signal flags.

Earlier, Lt. Governor Roberts had called the SSV Oliver Hazard Perry “this amazing sailing vessel where students will be learning about not only science, technology, engineering, the arts and mathematics but also–as they walk on this ship or walk by this ship–the history of our state and our country and the importance of Rhode Island to that history.” She added, “We often overlook the role we have played at different times as we celebrate the 350th Anniversary of our Colonial Charter and how important that has been to our country and the entire western world.”

Another advocate for the project, R.I. Commissioner of Education Deborah Gist, said in her impassioned speech, “When (OHPRI Chair) Bart Dunbar and (Operations Director) Jessica Wurzbacher came to talk to me about this project, they had me at ‘hello.’ I was immediately sold. The idea of having Rhode Island students out on the water– experiencing what it’s like to be on a tall ship, with the science and all the activities, and the incredible building of character and being on a team and relying on one another–fills me with excitement and joy.”

Gist, a former science teacher and environmental educator, also thanked Vice Admiral Tom Weschler (Ret), a driving force behind the ship who also is the Chairman Emeritus of the non-profit Oliver Hazard Perry Rhode Island. “A visionary is someone who imagines the possible, but it is when a visionary brings the possible to life, that magic truly happens, and we are so grateful for everything that you and your family have done,” said Gist.

Although the ship was clearly unfinished (her masts will be three times as tall as what was seen and her bowsprit half as long again, plus her engines, generators and more are still to come in the final outfitting), the topsides were freshly painted and a Great Cabin finished out as the “showpiece” for the work in progress. The Great Cabin, traditionally where the captain entertained on 18th and 19th century ships, is designated as a teaching area/navigation station aboard the SSV Oliver Hazard Perry. An hour prior to the public dedication of the ship, a private, and moving, dedication of this space took place with the family of Vice Admiral Weschler. It is after his brother—Navy Lt. Charles J. Weschler, a decorated World War II hero—that the Great Cabin has been named.

Naval Band playing for the dedication of the SSV Oliver Hazard Perry (Photo by OHPRI/Kim Fuller)

Over the remainder of the Fourth of July weekend, nearly 1000 visitors inspected the SSV Oliver Hazard Perry before the ship returned to Senesco Marine in Quonset, R.I., to continue construction. When it is launched in 2014, The 196’ three-masted, square-rigged tall ship SSV Oliver Hazard Perry will be the largest civilian training vessel in North America and the first ocean-going, full-rigged ship built in the United States in more than 100 years.

For more information about OHPRI and how to contribute to the effort, visit or contact Vice-Chair Perry Lewis at OHPRI headquarters, Buliod-Perry House, 29 Touro Street, Washington Square, Newport, R.I., 401.841.0080.

Follow OHPRI on Facebook at

What Others Said

RADM Glenn E. Whisler, USN (Ret) (OHPRI Board Member and Master of Ceremonies):”“I can’t wait to look out over Narragansett Bay and see this ship under full sail with a full complement of students aboard.

Bartlett Dunbar (OHPRI Chairman): “With the dedication of this magnificent ship, named for our Rhode Island hero Oliver Hazard Perry, and with a Great Cabin just dedicated to the Weschler Family and naval hero Lieutenant Charles Weschler, we have an appropriate symbol for Rhode Island’s historic past, its incredibly energetic present, and its prosperous future.”

Hon. Jack Reed (U.S. Senate): “September 10th marks the 200th Anniversary of the victory of Oliver Hazard Perry at the Battle of Lake Erie. It’s an extraordinarily important moment in our history. His motto was “Don’t Give up the Ship,” and that pennant flew over his vessel and inspired his crew. Then at the end of the long fight, he was able to report, ‘We have met the enemy and they are ours. Two ships, two rigs, one schooner, and one sloop.’ This is the spirit of America.”

Congressman James Langevin: “The maritime industry is an integral part of Rhode Island’s history, and the SSV Oliver Hazard Perry is a tribute to that past and a beacon to the future and will continue to support the Ocean State’s maritime environment. The major difference between this tall ship and its predecessors in the early 19th century is that this one is wheelchair accessible. (Langevin delivered his comments from his wheelchair.)

Hon. M. Teresa Paiva-Weed (President, R.I. Senate): “I want to point out this beautiful setting of Fort Adams State Park, which I love so much, as an example of when the private sector and the public sector come together from start to finish. We have Sail Newport, we have the Fort Adams Trust and now our newest tenant here in the Oliver Hazard Perry. This is truly one of the state’s greatest assets and each time we improve this park and each time we add something as beautiful as this, it really attracts more Rhode Islanders to come and enjoy the beauty of the park.”

RADM Walter Carter Jr., USN (President, Naval War College): “I can’t think of a better way to begin my tenure as president of the Naval War College than to represent our United States Navy in uniform during the very week that we celebrate our nation’s birthday, and to participate in the dedication of a ship that will serve as a living tribute to the maritime heritage of Rhode Island. As we dedicate this great ship, we recognize the role that it will soon play in educating our youth in the skills of seamanship, teamwork and service to others. I am indeed a proud native Rhode Islander and earned my very first sea legs right here in Narragansett Bay in 1976, but more importantly, over the centuries, New England has produced some of the world’s best mariners, and this fair city has been home to many distinguished naval officers, including naval heroes Matthew C. Perry and his brother Oliver Hazard Perry for whom this ship is named.”

Larry Mouradjian (Associate Director of DEM): “We log over 6 million visitors a year to our state parks. This [Fort Adams] is a very special place, and we are very fortunate to have the support of government to continue to invest in the infrastructure here, so that we can once again become even better in hosting so many programs that benefit the public and create so many opportunities for people. So, it is true that just to the north, off the Visitor’s Center dock, will be a 248-foot fixed pier that will ultimately be the home of the Oliver Hazard Perry.”

Harry Winthrop (Mayor of Newport, R.I.): “What better place to have a tall ship than in the sailing capital of the world, Newport, Rhode Island.”


(Photo Credit OHPRI/Kim Fuller

Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12 fleet (Photo by Paul Todd / Volvo Ocean Race)

Newport, Rhode Island – 5 February 2013 – Newport, Rhode Island will host the Volvo Ocean Race for the first time after winning a place on the route for the 12th edition of sailing’s premier round-the-world challenge in 2014-15.

The Race will reach Newport, one of the world’s sailing capitals, around May 2015 after a stop in Itajaí, Brazil. From Newport, the teams will sail across the Atlantic for the final legs around Europe.

The Volvo Ocean Race has visited the United States in every edition since 1989-90 but despite Newport’s great sailing heritage, it has never before had Host Port status.

“I’m delighted to announce that we are bringing the world’s greatest offshore sailing event to one of the world’s great sailing cities,” Volvo Ocean Race CEO Knut Frostad. said at a presentation at Rhode Island State House in Providence.

PUMA Ocean Racing in the 2011-12 Volvo Ocean Race Photo by Amory Ross / Volvo Ocean Race)

“It’s about time the Race came to the city of Newport and we are looking forward to a real festival that will delight and inspire sailing fans and those who are new to the sport.”

Rhode Island is known as the Ocean State and for over 50 years Newport was the home of the America’s Cup. The city hosted a hugely successful stop on the America’s Cup World Series in 2012, with 65,000 people visiting over the four-day racing period.

Frostad was joined at the presentation by Rhode Island Governor Lincoln D. Chafee, Newport Mayor Harry Winthrop, Sail Newport executive director Brad Read and other local and state officials. Volvo Ocean Race COO Tom Touber was also at the presentation.

“It gives me great pleasure and pride to welcome the Volvo Ocean Race to beautiful Rhode Island for the first time,” said Governor Chafee. “We have made significant strategic land and marine infrastructure improvements at Fort Adams State Park, paving the way for a new era of racing in Rhode Island and setting the stage for the world-class events we continue to host.

“We had a positive experience with the America’s Cup World Series last summer, and I look forward to welcoming the Volvo Ocean Race to Rhode Island. These large-scale sailing events draw impressive numbers of visitors to our state – visitors who make valuable contributions to our economy.”

Newport, a popular tourist destination, is the sixth Host Port for the Volvo Ocean Race 2014-15 to be revealed so far. The Race will start in Alicante, Spain and visit Recife in north east Brazil. Later in the Race, the teams will race to Auckland in New Zealand before rounding Cape Horn and making a second Brazilian stop in Itajaí and then heading to Newport.

The Race will finish in the Swedish city of Gothenburg. The remaining stopovers on the 2014-15 route will be revealed over the coming weeks.


Volvo Ocean Race Miami in 2012 (Photo by Marc Bow / Volvo Ocean Race)

The upcoming edition of the Volvo Ocean Race will start in autumn 2014 and will be the 12th edition of the 40-year-old event, which started in 1973 as the Whitbread Round the World Race.
The next two editions of the Volvo Ocean Race will be contested in a new high-performance yacht, the Volvo Ocean 65, designed by Farr Yacht Design in the United States and built by a consortium of boatyards in the United Kingdom, France, Italy and Switzerland.
The new 65-foot (19.8-metre) monohull racing yachts will be strictly One Design and delivered “ready to sail”. The boats incorporate the latest video, satellite and content production facilities to further enhance the Onboard Reporter programme that has been in place since 2008-09.
The all-female Team SCA were the first to announce their participation in the 2014-15 edition. Backed by SCA, the global hygiene and forest products company, they will be the first all-women’s team to compete in the race since 2001-02. A team from the state of Pernambuco, Brazil has also been announced.
The previous edition of the Volvo Ocean Race started in October 2011 in Alicante, Spain and was won by Groupama sailing team, skippered by Frenchman Franck Cammas.
The last race took the teams over 39,000 nautical miles (45,000 miles or 72,000 kilometres) and started in Alicante. The route featured stopovers in Cape Town (South Africa), Abu Dhabi (UAE), Sanya (China), Auckland (New Zealand), Itajaí (Brazil), Miami (USA), Lisbon (Portugal) and Lorient (France) before the finish in Galway (Ireland).


Oracle Team USA Spithill (Photo by George Bekris)

Oracle Team USA Spithill (Photo by George Bekris)

Coutts and Luna Rossa split the Newport Championships
Newport proved to be a statement event for the US defender of the America’s Cup as ORACLE TEAM USA was prominent in all areas of the leaderboard. Jimmy Spithill’s team earned the overall 2011-12 AC World Series Championship with a strong second place finishes in both the match racing and fleet racing in Newport. Spithill also claimed the overall season Fleet Racing Championship while Sweden’s Artemis Racing won the inaugural season’s Match Racing Championship.

“Consistency had been the key,” Spithill said moments before he was handed the newly commissioned AC World Series trophy. “We were the last team to arrive here, but we came out and performed under pressure. For us it was very satisfying to see us step up and the other guys fall back when the pressure came on.”

His veteran stable-mate very nearly stole the day in front of a capacity crowd of spectators at Fort Adams. Russell Coutts won the Newport Match Racing Championship over Spithill and almost took out the fleet race as well, but was denied that honor by Chris Draper’s Luna Rossa Piranha team, who took advantage of a penalty to the Coutts team to grab a lead they would extend to the finish, to grab the Newport Fleet Racing Championship. Coutts was under intense pressure in the latter stages of the race from the Italian Swordfish team, but just held on for second place.

Luna Rossa Team Pirhana celebrate Newport Fleet Racing Win (Photo by Carlo Borlenghi)

Luna Rossa Team Pirhana celebrate Newport Fleet Racing Win (Photo by Carlo Borlenghi)

“Today just happened to work out for us. We got some nice breaks, but I wouldn’t give us too much credit for it,” Coutts said. “As a team, we’re really happy. Jimmy and his guys won the World Series and that’s what we came here to do… We’re always out there to win, we’re not there to just sail around the buoys – we want to win.”

For Chris Draper, the fleet racing win was a nice turn around after a difficult week: “We’ve had a tough week, the team’s been pretty down, but I’m pleased that both boats did well today. We needed that result to prove to ourselves that we could do it, so we’re happy.”

Terry Hutchinson’s Artemis Racing placed fourth in the Newport Match Racing Championship this week, which earned his team enough points to win the Match Racing title for the season.

“It’s a nice milestone for the team,” Hutchinson said, his mood tempered somewhat by a poor fleet race on Sunday. “But I think we have a lot of work to do. There are a lot of areas we can do better. But we have 14 months to do it and we’re looking forward to the challenge.”

The Newport event marks the end of the first season of AC World Series racing and follows previous events in Cascais (POR), Plymouth (UK), San Diego (USA), Naples and Venice (ITA). Regatta Director Iain Murray and his team have conducted 130 races over 30 days of racing in the six international venues. Over the time, only one day of races has been postponed due to weather.

Sunday’s racing was broadcast live, coast to coast, in the USA on NBC, marking the return of the Cup to network television for the first time in more than 20 years. The final day of racing in the opening two events of the 2012-13 AC World Series in San Francisco in August and October will likewise be shown on NBC.

Racing will start anew next month with the 2012-13 AC World Series in San Francisco from August 21-26. The new Ben Ainslie Racing will join the circuit as it comes to the host city of the 34th America’s Cup.


Loïck Peyron, skipper, Energy Team, reflection on the season: “After six events and almost one year of racing, we need to improve still in our match racing, but in the fleet racing we are happy to be third overall for the season, which is good. Now, we look forward to the racing in San Francisco in August and October.”

Dean Barker, skipper, Emirates Team New Zealand, on a tough day: “We had a nice start and we’re second at the first mark and then we just blew it. We made a couple of mistakes and fell back to fifth or sixth and from there it was very difficult to fight our way back through.”

Nathan Outteridge, skipper, Team Korea, on his team’s performance: “We didn’t have an ideal start, but we kept moving forward and on the last leg upwind we really nailed it and made up some places. I think we’ve performed better than we were initially hoping. This week I think we sailed the best we’ve sailed the whole time. So we’re really looking forward to San Francisco.”

2011-12 AC World Series Overall Championship Leaderboard
(Team, Match Racing Points, Fleet Racing Points, Total Points)
1. ORACLE TEAM USA SPITHILL…47 – 55 – 102 points
2. Emirates Team New Zealand…41 – 52 – 93 points
3. Artemis Racing…50 – 32 – 82 points
4. Energy Team…38 – 36 – 74 points
5. ORACLE TEAM USA COUTTS…39 – 29 – 68 points
6. Team Korea…33 – 33 – 66 points
7. Luna Rossa Piranha…26 – 26 – 52 points
8. Luna Rossa Swordfish…15 – 16 – 31 points
9. China Team…15 – 16 – 31 points

AC World Series Newport – Fleet Racing Championship Final Results and Standings

Race 1     Race 2     Race 3     Race 4     Race 5     Total Points

Luna Rossa Piranha     3     8     5     5     1     53

ORACLE TEAM USA SPITHILL     1     1     1     3     5     48

Emirates Team New Zealand     6     2     3     1     6     40

Team Korea     8     6     2     4     4     36

Luna Rossa Swordfish     7     5     6     6     3     35

ORACLE TEAM USA COUTTS     2     7     8     8     2     33

Artemis Racing     4     3     4     7     7     32

Energy Team     5     4     7     2     8     30

AC World Series Newport Match Racing Championships – Standings
3. Luna Rossa Piranha
4. Artemis Racing
5. Energy Team
6. Emirates Team New Zealand
7. Luna Rossa Swordfish
8. Team Korea

 For More George Bekris America’s Cup World Series Action Photos click HERE

Helicopter Over AC45 (Photo by George Bekris)

Helicopter Over AC45 (Photo by George Bekris)

Newport, Rhode Island, USA, 30/06/2012

Emirates Team New Zealand win race four to break US winning streak

Jimmy Spithill’s ORACLE TEAM USA continues to impress in Newport, but were denied a fourth consecutive fleet race win by a hard-charging Emirates Team New Zealand.

“We had a good solid day,” Barker said. “It’s nice to win one and we have some good momentum going into tomorrow. The ORACLE TEAM USA guys are sailing well, but we’ll do what we can do and if we can win the race we’ll be happy.”

Newport delivered another perfect afternoon of racing conditions, with a sea breeze near 15 knots under sunny skies. Thousands took advantage of the warm afternoon to enjoy the sight from Fort Adams as well as in the hundreds of spectator boats crowding the Narragansett Bay course boundaries.

In fleet race three, Spithill threaded the needle at the start, barely squeezing between the Race Committee boat and two of his competitors, hitting the starting line as the gun fired at top speed.

“It was a risky start, but in this type of racing you really have to push things now and then,” Spithill said. “We knew if we got off the starting line well we’d have a shot for being top three in the race, so we’ve been pushing hard.”

From there, Spithill extended away while his rivals were engaged in battle behind him. Young Nathan Outteridge and his Team Korea crew had an impressive race in second place, holding off Emirates Team New Zealand, as Dean Barker threatened early, but couldn’t make the passing move and settled for third. Artemis Racing made its way up from near the back of the fleet to take fourth.

Fleet race four started like the previous one, with Spithill barging across the starting line to take an early lead. But this time Dean Barker’s crew had an answer on the first upwind leg, working a favorable path up the shoreline, away from the adverse current running down the race course, to take steal the lead. Loïck Peyron’s Energy Team too, passed Spithill and then Nathan Outteridge squeezed by on the next leg. But the ORACLE TEAM USA crew fought back to ease around the top mark just behind the Kiwis. Barker and crew held their position however all the way to the finish, with Spithill relegated to third, his worst result of the series.

With a second and a fourth place finish, Nathan Outteridge’s Team Korea climbed off the bottom of the leaderboard and now sits just two points out of a podium position.

“It was much better today,” Outteridge said. “I think we got what we deserved. We had some better starts and gave ourselves a chance in both races. There was a bit more breeze so we were really able to be more physical on the boat. The guys on our boat are awesome when the breeze is up, there’s never an issue with the crew work on our boat. Today has given us a good chance to get right in there and if we sail like we did today, we have every chance of getting on the podium and that’s what we’re here for.”

Meanwhile ORACLE TEAM USA COUTTS withdrew from the first race of the day at the halfway point with equipment problems, after hitting one of the turning mark boats.


“I never did like the anchors on those boats,” Coutts joked. “But at least the hull that I was sitting on missed it!”

Coutts went in for repairs, and although he made it out for race four, he was late to start and never in contention, with the last place finish dropping the team to the bottom of the leaderboard.

Before racing started, the teams engaged in the AC500 Speed Trial. Here too, Spithill proved the class of the fleet, his second run setting the standard ahead of Energy Team and Team Korea.

Racing starts at 1430 on Sunday with the final of the Newport Match Racing Championship between the two ORACLE TEAM USA crews.

“It’s a high-pressure race,” Spithill joked. “For whoever loses, it’s going to be brutal!!”

Then it’s the fifth and final fleet race to determine the Newport Fleet Racing Champion as well as the overall 2011-12 AC World Series Championship. There are 30 points on offer to the winner of race five, meaning the Newport fleet racing title is wide open.

Sunday’s racing program is live, coast to coast in the United States on NBC, beginning at 1430. This means it will not be shown live on in the United States. However, the race replay and highlights will be posted after the live broadcast has concluded.

AC World Series Newport – Fleet Racing Championship Results

Race 1     Race 2     Race 3     Race 4     Race 5     Total Points

ORACLE TEAM USA SPITHILL     1     1     1     3           38

Emirates Team New Zealand     6     2     3     1           32

Energy Team     5     4     7     2           26

Artemis Racing     4     3     4     7           26

Team Korea     8     6     2     4           24

Luna Rossa Piranha     3     8     5     5           23

Luna Rossa Swordfish     7     5     6     6           20

ORACLE TEAM USA COUTTS     2     7     8     8           13

AC500 Speed Trial

2. Energy Team – 24.00 knots
3. Team Korea – 23.79 knots
4. Artemis Racing – 23.72 knots
5. Luna Rossa Swordfish – 23.59 knots
6. ORACLE TEAM USA COUTTS – 23.54 knots
7. Luna Rossa Piranha – 23.48 knots
8. Emirates Team New Zealand – 23.17 knots

AC World Series Newport Match Racing Championships – Standings

The top two teams will race in the Final on Sunday
3. Luna Rossa Piranha
4. Artemis Racing
5. Energy Team
6. Emirates Team New Zealand
7. Luna Rossa Swordfish
8. Team Korea

2011-12 AC World Series Overall Championship Leaderboard (after five of six events)

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

 More Images by George Bekris HERE

Team Emirates New Zealand Going Over (Photo by George Bekris)

Team Emirates New Zealand Going Over (Photo by George Bekris)


The cheers for ORACLE TEAM USA began at the first turning mark today and continued through the end-of-day birthday celebration for team skipper Jimmy Spithill, who turned 33 years old.

Spithill and crew won the opening fleet race, followed moments later by Russell Coutts and crew in second. Afterwards, both crews won their quarterfinal matches 2-1 to advance to tomorrow’s semifinal round of the match racing championship.

The first day of ACWS – Newport could hardly have gone better for ORACLE TEAM USA.

“I think we’ve really got to credit Philippe Presti (coach) and our support guys,” said Spithill, whose crew is aiming to wrap up the inaugural ACWS season championship this weekend. “The sailmakers have put some work in and Philippe has put in a lot of energy to step up as we go through.”

The fleet race began as scheduled at noon but the winds were light and patchy. On some portions of the racecourse the southwesterly seabreeze was filling, but other portions were in windless zones as the new breeze worked its way up the East Passage of Narragansett Bay.

Spithill and crew nailed the start perfectly at the windward end and led the fleet at the first turning mark to great applause from the estimated 5,000 or so spectators lining the shoreline of Fort Adams State Park.

Spithill led all the way around the race track to secure the win even though the crew’s one-time comfortable advantage was whittled to mere lengths approaching the finish.

“We got a good jump at the start, but the breeze didn’t quite settle,” said Spithill. “There were a lot of passing lanes and a little bit of stop and go. But I thought JK (John Kostecki, tactician) did a really good job to get us through the mine fields. We were constantly turning our heads, but it was a good one to get under the belt.”

For ORACLE TEAM USA COUTTS, the start was the helmsman’s first live ACWS action since last September. Coutts admits to a bit of rust in his game, but he staged a furious rally to come from last place at the first leeward gate to second at the finish. Coutts worked the right side of the racecourse up the beat and found a fresh puff of wind that allowed him to overtake many of the competitors to the left of him.

“We were behind and kept plugging away,” said Coutts. “The situation developed nicely, but we chose some nice places to tack, too. We got a few breaks today and a bit of luck to find our way.”

In the match racing, Spithill and crew downed Team Korea (Nathan Outteridge) and Coutts’ crew defeated Luna Rossa Swordfish (Paul Campbell-James). Both ORACLE TEAM USA crews showed good form in the deciding third race, sailing away from their rivals to ensure advancing to the semis.

Tomorrow Spithill will face Artemis Racing and Coutts will sail Luna Rossa Piranha. Each match is a best-of-three, with the winners moving on to Sunday’s match racing championship.

“I haven’t raced these boats since September, so we’re just plugging away,” said Coutts. “I want to try and get a better result for Boat 5 this week, that’s the objective. We started OK in match racing today, but personally I didn’t have a great day. I made a lot of mistakes. It’s just a lack of match fitness.”

Spithill gets a shot at Artemis Racing and skipper Terry Hutchinson, who are leading the overall match racing championship for the season. Surprisingly, the two haven’t squared off at an ACWS match racing series since Round 1 in Cascais, Portugal, last August.

“It’ll be a tough race versus Terry, but we’re going out there with an opportunity to get both of our crews through to the finals,” said Spithill. “It’s great to see our teammates sail a couple of fantastic races.”


Crew Lists
ORACLE TEAM USA SPITHILL – Jimmy Spithill (skipper/helmsman) John Kostecki (tactician), Dirk de Ridder (wingsail trimmer), Joe Newton (headsail trimmer), Piet van Nieuwenhuijzen (bowman)
ORACLE TEAM USA COUTTS – Russell Coutts (skipper/helmsman), Kyle Langford (wingsail trimmer), Simon Daubney (headsail trimmer), Matt Mitchell (runners), Sam Newton (bowman)

2011-12 ACWS – Newport Fleet Racing Championship
Team (Country) R1 — Total Points
3. Luna Rossa Piranha (ITA) 3 — 8
4. Artemis Racing (SWE) 4 — 7
5. Energy Team (FRA) 5 — 6
6. Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL) 6 — 5
7. Luna Rossa Swordfish (ITA) 7 — 4
8. Team Korea (KOR) 8 — 3
(Scoring: 1st place = 10 points, 2nd = 9, 3rd = 8, 4th = 7, 5th = 6, 6th = 5, 7th = 4, 8th = 3)

Match Racing Championship – Quarterfinal Results
Match 1: ORACLE TEAM USA SPITHLL d. Team Korea, 2-1
M2: Artemis Racing d. Energy Team, 2-0
M3: ORACLE TEAM USA COUTTS d. Luna Rossa – Swordfish, 2-1
M4: Luna Rossa Piranha d. Emirates Team New Zealand, 2-0




Team  Oracle  USA Spithill  (Photo by George Bekris)

Team Oracle USA Spithill (Photo by George Bekris)


ORACLE TEAM USA Skipper Jimmy Spithill and crew have their eye on the prize – the 2011-’12 ACWS Season Championship.

Championship racing for ACWS – Newport, the final event of the 2011-’12 ACWS season, begins Thursday, June 28. ORACLE TEAM USA SPITHILL enters the finale holding a 4-point lead in the overall standings.

“We’ve always just wanted to be in a position to win the championship, and now we’re there,” said Spithill. “We’ll have a shot to wrap up the season and it’s obviously something we’d like to win. I think we’ll have great turnout in Newport and that’ll help us get the job done.”

Spithill will be racing with his regular crew of tactician John Kostecki, wingsail trimmer Dirk de Ridder, headsail trimmer Joe Newton and bowman Piet van Nieuwenhuijzen. They’ll be racing in U.S. waters for the first time since last November’s third round in San Diego when they swept the match and fleet racing championships.

Energy and Oracle by Castle Hill Light  (Photo  by George Bekris)

Energy and Oracle by Castle Hill Light (Photo by George Bekris)

“Newport will be fantastic.” said Spithill. “We have a huge amount of support there. I think the racecourse and viewing landscape will be great for spectators. I think everyone’s genuinely looking forward to it.”

While Spithill will be gunning for the title, team CEO Russell Coutts returns to the helm of the No. 5 boat for the first time since last September in Plymouth, UK. Coutts handed over the helm to double Olympic medalist Darren Bundock to focus on the event side of the 2013 America’s Cup.

“Newport’s a great venue for racing,” said Coutts, the all-time America’s Cup-winning skipper. “I’ve raced there a lot and with the racecourse placed along the shore of Fort Adams it will offer fantastic viewing for fans.”

ORACLE TEAM USA COUTTS is aiming to improve on its sixth place in the standings. Coutts will race with wingsail trimmer Kyle Langford, headsail trimmer Simon Daubney, Matt Mitchell on runners and new bowman Sam Newton, who joined the team late last year and has raced high-performance dinghies such as 18-foot Skiffs.

Both crews have been practicing in San Francisco the past 10 days in preparation for the finale. They’ll begin practicing on Narragansett Bay tomorrow. Newport most likely will have more breeze than the fifth round of the 2011-’12 AC World Series in Venice, where huge crowds turned out to watch the racing.


“Newport is the sailing capital of the East Coast, so I think there’ll be a huge turnout,” said Kostecki, the tactician for Spithill. “I’ve spoken with a lot of people who are looking forward to coming down and watching us race. I think there’ll be a bit more breeze and it’ll also be tricky with the currents, so it should be a great race track.”

The ACWS – Newport Race Village opens tomorrow, June 23, and championship racing is scheduled June 28-July 1. The fleet race finale on July 1 is scheduled to be broadcast live in the U.S. on NBC.

Crew Lists
ORACLE TEAM USA SPITHILL – Jimmy Spithill (skipper/helmsman) John Kostecki (tactician), Dirk de Ridder (wingsail trimmer), Joe Newton (headsail trimmer), Piet van Nieuwenhuijzen (bowman)
ORACLE TEAM USA COUTTS – Russell Coutts (skipper/helmsman), Kyle Langford (wingsail trimmer), Simon Daubney (headsail trimmer), Matt Mitchell (runner), Sam Newton (bowman)

2011-’12 America’s Cup World Series Overall Standings
Team (Country) Match – Fleet — Total
2. Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL) 36 – 44 — 80
3. Artemis Racing (SWE) 43 – 28 — 71
4. Energy Team (FRA) 32 – 33 — 65
5. Team Korea (KOR) 30 – 26 — 56
6. ORACLE TEAM USA COUTTS (USA) 29 – 24 — 53
7. Luna Rossa Piranha 18 – 16 — 34
8. China Team (CHN) 13 – 15 — 28
9. Green Comm Racing (ESP) 11 – 12 — 23
10. Luna Rossa Swordfish 11 – 10 — 21
(After five of six scheduled events)