SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) – The skipper of Oracle Team USA and his sailing team appear to be brimming with confidence as they look forward to sailing on home waters before an enthusiastic home crowd at the 34th America’s Cup match, beginning Sept. 7 on San Francisco Bay.
Most recently, defending America’s Cup champion Oracle Team USA christened and launched its new 72-foot, wing-sailed catamaran. But, because of strong winds, the syndicate canceled the fast cat’s maiden voyage, reasoning there was still plenty of time to do so before the competition.
It was just one more sign that Oracle Team USA and skipper Jimmy Spithill are believing they have a strong, home field advantage this summer.
“The fact that the risers are right in front of Marina Green on the downtown, so instead of going miles and miles off shore and pulling all the people away so they couldn’t watch, it’s right tight in like a sideline of the course is the land there, the Marina Green area and the other sideline is a virtual line from Alcatraz up to the Golden Gate Bridge,” said Spithill. “So it will be impossible to miss this race, everyone can see it. We call it stadium sailing.”
“If we look at our results in the World Series, you know we’ve been going around racing this like half-scale boat and our best results have always come from racing in the states because we’re the home team,” Spithill said. “We’re the home team here.”
“The last event we had here in San Francisco, we dominated,” said Spithill. “And it’s hard to put a value or a number of the influence you can get from a home crowd. But, man, when you hear the people cheering you on and the guys have got nothing left in the tank they find another gear.”
Before the big boys sail for the America’s Cup, youth sailors from around the world will compete in the Red Bull Youth America’s Cup, something Spithill says is crucial to encouraging youth to consider the sport.
“Something I think that’s been missing from America’s Cup has been a pathway for the next generation. And you know, I’ve had kids and young sailors come up to me all the time, they say ‘hey how do I get into America’s Cup, how do I do what you do?’ and in the past I haven’t been able to answer them,” Spithill said. “And you look at other sports, you look at baseball, where they’ve got Little League, you know? NFL, you start at a young age you play at high school and if you’re good enough you work through college and get to NFL.”
“Finally, now, with the support of Red Bull, we have the Red Bull Youth America’s Cup. So what will happen is we will race the main event, the America’s Cup in September, right before that the youth sails with an average age of I think it’s 19 to 24, they’re going to race the 45s. What an incredible opportunity.”
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