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Practice makes perfect, says Oracle’s Spithill

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Jimmy Spithill, the Oracle Team USA skipper, said the defenders of the America's Cup have profited from the considerable knowledge gained during a series of practice races held over the past two weeks in the Great Sound.

Spithill and his colleagues compiled an impressive 16-7 record against the remaining Cup rivals already based here but more importantly identified kinks in their armour that they intend to iron out to enhance their chances of retaining sailing's “holy grail” in June.

“Anytime you get to simulate real race conditions, with the America's Cup Race Committee [Iain Murray, Melanie Roberts] here, it pushes the whole team that much harder, and it exposes any shortcomings,” Spithill, the youngest skipper to win the America's Cup, said.

“There was some great, close racing between ourselves and Artemis Racing and SoftBank Team Japan.

“All three teams won and lost their share of races and we all learnt a lot I think.

“Unfortunately, the British seemed to be having issues and weren't competitive which was a bit of surprise.”

The racing over the past two weeks was intense, with some very aggressive pre-start action, as well as lead changes at both ends of the racetrack.

“I think what you're seeing is the teams getting more comfortable with the equipment as the systems get refined,” Spithill added.

“One of the real challenges in this America's Cup is in providing enough power at critical moments to make the manoeuvres you want to make.

“From what I could see, all three of us have made strides there over the past few months, allowing for more aggressive sailing.

“Like in all racing, the starts are important and you want to get your nose in front early, so that's why you're seeing the pre-start action.

“But that being said, this is far from a one-way racetrack.

“There are passing opportunities. And we've seen that when you make a mistake in a manoeuvre, the other guy is right there ready to pounce.”

With the practice race period concluded, Oracle will now shift their attention to the launch of the team's new America's Cup Class boat scheduled for next Tuesday, February 14 — the anniversary of the date the team first won the America's Cup in 2010 after dethroning Swiss defenders Alinghi.

“It's a real tribute to our shore crew that they've been able to progress work on the new boat, while keeping us out on the racecourse day after day,” Spithill said.

“I've always said we've got the best shore operation in the game, and they've proved it again.”

Local authority: Spithill says his team have profited from local knowledge gained in practice races on the Great Sound

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Published February 07, 2017 at 8:00 am (Updated February 07, 2017 at 12:32 pm)

Practice makes perfect, says Oracle’s Spithill

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