Four of the six America’s Cup teams were back in practice race action on 15th May on the first day of the final week of practice racing before the 35th America’s Cup in Bermuda starts on 26th May, and the results proved promising for ORACLE TEAM USA. In near perfect conditions on Bermuda’s Great Sound, Jimmy Spithill and ORACLE TEAM USA showed their intentions early on with a dominant performance against Sir Ben Ainslie’s Land Rover BAR in race one. Despite the British boat making a better start, ORACLE TEAM USA quickly found their rhythm and were clearly ahead by the second windward mark, before widening their advantage to cross the finish line over a minute ahead of the British team. Tom Slingsby, ORACLE TEAM USA tactician and sailing team manager, commented after an 8 hour day on the water:
- “It was a long day out there for us, but we wanted to make the most of it.
- “We did a couple of races, got a couple of wins and then we did some tuning and tried some different tests. We got a lot of answers we needed.
- “We know how much we’ve stepped up our game from the last race period and we see that everyone else has made a similar step. The rate of improvement is skyrocketing in this last month. Everyone is putting on all their race kit, the maneuvers are getting better and so the differences between the teams are getting smaller.”
Land Rover BAR returned to the water immediately for race two but their fortunes did not improve and they suffered a second successive defeat, this time at the hands of SoftBank Team Japan. Again, the British boat made a strong start but their lack of straight-line speed proved their downfall as Softbank Team Japan, skippered by Dean Barker, gained a clear lead that they did not relinquish, finishing with a convincing victory.