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Oracle Team USA Begins Defense of America’s Cup

Posted on 07 September 2013 by Valencia Sailing

[Source: Oracle Team USA] Years of preparation culminate tomorrow when ORACLE TEAM USA begins its defense of the 34th America’s Cup. The team will face Emirates Team New Zealand on Saturday, September 7, on San Francisco Bay in the first two races of the Finals. Race 1 begins at 1:15 pm PT, with race 2 following at 2:15 pm PT.

“We’ve got one thing to focus on, and that’s the racing,” said skipper and helmsman Jimmy Spithill. “To win this trophy, it is one of the hardest things you’ll do in your life. But, it is so rewarding. When you coordinate such a big team together and it all works, it’s hard to put words to it.”

On Tuesday, ORACLE TEAM USA’s 11-member crew was unveiled, and yesterday Spithill announced they would be racing on the team’s second boat.

After winning the 33rd America’s Cup, ORACLE TEAM USA elected to bring the event to San Francisco Bay, the place tactician John Kostecki calls home.

Oracle Team USA will begin the defense of the 34th America’s Cup with a two-point deficit. Photo copyright Guilain Grenier

“There’s no doubt about it, it’s fantastic to have this America’s Cup here on the water where I grew up sailing,” Kostecki said. “When we won this trophy three years ago, it was a dream come true for me, and when the team chose San Francisco, it was incredible.

“Now it’s time to race and it’s actually happening here in San Francisco,” Kostecki continued. “As we all know, and as we’ve seen in the Louis Vuitton Cup, it’s an incredible venue with great sea breezes, tricky course conditions, with different currents that are changing every day and winds that are changing every day. You can view the race course from all over the Bay Area. So, personally, I think it’s one of the best venues in the world for this event and we’re all looking forward to getting out there, putting on a good show, and hopefully winning a sailboat race.”

Rounding out the race crew are: grinder Shannon Falcone, grinder Rome Kirby, wing trimmer Kyle Langford, grinder Jonathan Macbeth, jib trimmer Joe Newton, grinder Gilberto Nobili, grinder/strategist Tom Slingsby, grinder Joe Spooner and grinder Simeon Tienpont.

“The entire team is focused on racing,” said general manager Grant Simmer. “The 130 members of ORACLE TEAM USA – sailors, boat builders, designers, technical support and business administration – stand behind the 11 men on the water.”

The winner of the 34th America’s Cup will be the first team to capture nine points. For ORACLE TEAM USA, it means winning 11 races due to a penalty assessed by the Jury, where Emireates Team New Zealand will need to win nine races.

“We don’t shy away from a challenge or a fight – we’re ready to get out there,” Spithill said. “We can win the America’s Cup – that’s our plan. I think we’ve got the team to do it, we’ve got a fantastic boat – and that’s exactly what we’re going to do come this Saturday. We’re going to get out there and give everything we can.”

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

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Oracle Team USA announces race crew for 34th America’s Cup

Posted on 04 September 2013 by Valencia Sailing

[Source: Oracle Team USA] ORACLE TEAM USA unveiled its crew to race in the 34th America’s Cup today. With Jimmy Spithill at the helm, the 11-member crew will comprise the starting lineup when the team’s quest to defend the America’s Cup begins on San Francisco Bay this Saturday.

Spithill, the youngest winning skipper in America’s Cup history, takes the helm again, this time on the team’s AC72 catamaran. The crew also features grinder Shannon Falcone, grinder Rome Kirby, grinder/tactician John Kostecki, wing trimmer Kyle Langford, grinder Jonathan Macbeth, jib trimmer Joe Newton, grinder Gilberto Nobili, grinder/strategist Tom Slingsby, grinder Joe Spooner and grinder Simeon Tienpont.

“We’ve got a great mix across the board – from Rome and Kyle, the youngest on the team, to JK [Kostecki], who is one of the most experienced. It’s a great group, and these guys are all incredibly hard workers,” Spithill said. “We have our boats, we have our race crew, now we’re all really ready to race.”

The 34th America’s Cup commences on Saturday, Sept. 7, on the San Francisco Bay. Two races are scheduled with the first starting at 1:10 pm local, followed by race two at 2:10 pm local. Races will be broadcast in the U.S. on NBC for the first two days before reverting to the NBC Sports Network, with live coverage of all races.

“We’ve got a fantastic team all around – our shore crew, our support team – and everyone is working hard to get us ready every day,” Spithill said. “We’re all here to go racing, and come Saturday, that’s what we’ll do.”

Oracle Team USA’s crew that will try to retain the America’s Cup. Photo copyright Guilain Grenier / Oracle Team USA

THE CREW

Jimmy Spithill, Helmsman
Birthdate: June 28, 1979
Jimmy boxes with fast hands, serves a fast ball in tennis, needs horsepower under his right foot and, on a race boat, likes to “send it.” He is the America’s Cup’s youngest-ever winning skipper, and twice he’s been named the Australian Male Yachtsman of the Year. Going fast is what he does.

Shannon Falcone, Grinder
Birthdate: June 28, 1981
Shannon’s first footsteps as a child were on his father’s 44-footer Caccia alla Volpe. He went on to win several championships around the world including a 33rd America’s Cup.

Rome Kirby, Grinder
Birthdate: June 6, 1989
Rome is among the youngest members of ORACLE TEAM USA. He recently completed the around the world Volvo Ocean Race onboard with PUMA Ocean Racing, sailing more than 39,000 nautical miles.

John Kostecki, Grinder/Tactician
Birthdate: June 7, 1964
San Francisco native John Kostecki was the first sailor in the world to collect the sport’s “Grand Slam,” after winning the 33rd America’s Cup, adding to his round-the-world 2001-02 Volvo Ocean Race victory as skipper and Olympic silver medal at the 1988 Games.

Kyle Langford, Wing Trimmer
Birthdate: July 30, 1989
As the youngest sailor on ORACLE TEAM USA, Kyle is accepting the challenge full-on. He is no stranger to skipper Jimmy Spithill. The Aussie compatriots teamed together in 2010 aboard yacht 17 to win the RC 44 World Championship and RC 44 World Match Race Championship.

Jonathan Macbeth, Grinder
Birthdate: March 26, 1973
Seasoned sailor Jonathan “Jono” Macbeth has garnered his fair share of championships, including a Louis Vuitton Cup win and two America’s Cup titles.

Joe Newton, Jib Trimmer
Birthdate: December 16, 1977
Australian mates skipper Jimmy Spithill and Joe Newton formed a tight bond in their early days competing with Young Australia, and the duo went on to win the 33rd America’s Cup in 2010.

Gilberto Nobili, Grinder
Birthdate: April 29, 1974
Gilberto Nobili, “Gillo,” is not only an America’s Cup champion but also a double-agent for the team – sailor by day and Java developer by night, building customized displays for each crew member onboard the AC72.

Tom Slingsby, Grinder/Strategist
Birthdate: September 5, 1984
Tom Slingsby is an all-around athlete, with a promising tennis career and a gold medal in sailing from the 2012 Olympic Games in his past and the 34th America’s Cup Finals in his future.

Joe Spooner, Grinder
Birthdate: October 31, 1973
Entering into this 34th America’s Cup, skilled sailor Joe Spooner already has two America’s Cup titles, three Fastnet Race wins and a Rolex Maxi Worlds championship in his trophy case.

Simeon Tienpont, Grinder
Birthdate: January 20, 1982
Simeon is no stranger to speed, sailing with the record-setting 24-hour monohull run in the Volvo Ocean Race in 2005-06 and a 33rd America’s Cup title. He is a jack of all trades from a shipbuilding family and studied design and construction of yachts at university.

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Puma Ocean Racing leads start of Leg 6 to Miami

Posted on 22 April 2012 by Valencia Sailing

[Source: Puma Ocean Racing] PUMA’s Mar Mostro powered to the front of the fleet to lead the departure from Itajai, Brazil, for the start of Leg 6 of the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12. The PUMA Ocean Racing powered by BERG crew completed the in-port loop in 42 minutes, 32 seconds, heading out for the offshore portion of the leg about a half mile ahead of Team Telefónica. Next stop: Miami, Florida, USA.

“Right now, we feel good about ourselves, and that says something. We’re as confident as you can be sailing in a fleet like this against such great sailors and great boats,” said skipper Ken Read. “I don’t want to jinx the fleet right now, but it looks like we could have really nice sailing. This is potentially the first leg of this race that anybody can say that. We might have some downwind sailing out of here, it looks like we might have some nice trade wind sailing, maybe some consistent wave patterns. I’ve probably just completely ruined it. But, I think everybody is really psyched to do some nice sailing.”

Leg 6 will take the fleet 4,800 nautical miles from Itajaí to Miami – the lone U.S. stop in this year’s race – and span approximately 14 days. The fleet will arrive into the Downtown Miami Volvo Ocean Race Village at Bicentennial Park, which officially opens on May 6.

Puma takes the early lead in Leg 6. Itajaí, 22 April 2012. Photo copyright Ian Roman / Volvo Ocean Race

“We’re starting just behind a front that pushed through overnight, so we’ve got some good downwind sailing over the first day or so,” said navigator Tom Addis. “It won’t last that long though, and after a day of nice downwind, we’ll see a couple days of lighter stuff. We’ll battle through to the trade winds, and once there we should have some nice, solid reaching almost all the way to the Bahamas.”

PUMA’s Mar Mostro, built and launched in Newport, Rhode Island, departed U.S. waters on July 3, 2011, with the start of the Transatlantic Race 2011 from Newport to Lizard Point, Cornwall, U.K. The crew made a training run to Miami and visited the city on May 13, 2011.

PUMA holds on in fourth in the overall standings with 117 points after finishing third in Saturday’s In-Port Race. Telefónica maintains the top slot with 149 points, while Groupama closed the gap, sitting in second at 133. CAMPER is in third at 124.

Shannon Falcone (Falmouth Harbor, Antigua) is on board for this leg, taking the place of Casey Smith (Brisbane, Australia) who injured his back during Leg 5. Kelvin Harrap (Napier, New Zealand) returns to the crew after missing Leg 5 due to injury.

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Shannon Falcone joins Puma crew for Leg 6 of Volvo Ocean Race

Posted on 18 April 2012 by Valencia Sailing

[Source: Puma Ocean Racing] PUMA Ocean Racing powered by BERG announced today that Shannon Falcone will sail on board PUMA’s Mar Mostro for Leg 6 of the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12 from Itajaí, Brazil, to Miami, Florida, USA. Falcone takes the place of bowman Casey Smith who injured his back during the last leg of the race from Auckland, New Zealand, to Itajaí. Helmsman Kelvin Harrap also rejoins the team, returning from injury after missing Leg 5.

“We were really lucky to have Shannon on ‘stand by’ specifically for a situation like this one,” said PUMA skipper Ken Read. “Losing Casey is a tough situation for our team, eased only by the fact that Shannon has a lot of experience with us – both in the last race and training this past summer. We are really happy that he is ready to go.”

Falcone, 30 from Falmouth Harbour, Antigua, will sail in his second Volvo Ocean Race with PUMA Ocean Racing beginning with Saturday’s In-Port Race in Itajaí. He was part of the PUMA team for the 2008-09 edition of the race, serving as trimmer and pitman for eight legs. Falcone is currently a member of the ORACLE Racing team training for the 34th America’s Cup. In 2010, he was on BMW ORACLE Racing’s extended crew, winner of the 33rd America’s Cup, and he has been a part of the Mascalzone Latino (2000) and Luna Rossa (2007) America’s Cup campaigns.

“The pressure is on,” said Falcone. “It’s always difficult joining a crew after a win, and I have some big shoes to fill in Casey’s absence. The guys did a great job the last leg, and we want to follow up with the same on this next leg to Miami.”

Smith (Brisbane, Australia) injured his lower back just before the start of the grueling Leg 5, and he stayed on board through the team’s first-place finish in the leg. He will remain at home in Newport, Rhode Island, USA, during the upcoming leg for treatment and rehab. He is expected to rejoin the team in Miami.

Harrap, who missed Leg 5 due to carpal tunnel syndrome in both arms as well as bursitis in his elbow, resumes his role with the PUMA crew this week.

Racing gets underway in Itajaí with the Pro Am Race on Friday, April 20, followed by the In-Port Race on Saturday, April 21, and the start of Leg 6 to the lone U.S. stop of Miami, Florida, on Sunday, April 22.

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