U.S. sailing teams had different results in two very different events that wrapped up in the last week.
Oracle Team USA, backed by software billionaire Larry Ellison, won the 2011-12 America’s Cup World Series championship, while Puma Ocean Racing finished third overall in the Volvo Ocean Race.
The AC World Series in Newport, R.I., proved to be a statement event for the U.S. defender of the America’s Cup. Oracle Team USA, led by skipper Jimmy Spithill, earned the overall 2011-12 AC World Series championship, which ended July 1.
This was the sixth and final stop on the international circuit created to promote the new wing-sail Cup catamarans. The World Series was sailed in AC45 cats, while AC72s will be featured in the America’s Cup finals next year in San Francisco.
Spithill and crew 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.”
The racing action was especially frenetic on the opening day of the event, when skipper Dean Barker’s Emirates Team New Zealand capsized.
Click play for video of the action.
Racing will resume Aug. 21-26 with the start of the 2012-13 AC World Series season in San Francisco.
On the other side of the pond, Puma Ocean Racing crossed the Volvo Ocean Race finish line in Galway, Ireland — the last of 10 stops — in third place Tuesday. The 550-nautical mile leg started in Lorient, France, and took Puma 1 day, 13 hours, 51 minutes and 1 second to complete.
Click play to watch action from the race.
Camper with Emirates Team New Zealand won the leg, followed by Groupama Sailing Team in second.
Groupama earned the overall race trophy, Camper finished second, and Puma captured third place overall.
“This leg basically sums up our whole regatta,” said Puma skipper Ken Read, of Newport. “We’re kind of the tough-luck kids. We had a nice little lead with about 4 hours to go. We knew we would be sailing into lighter air, and sure enough that’s what we did. As soon as we parked, everyone came zipping up from behind. It’s happened so many times in this race. Yes it’s a shame, but we give Camper and Groupama credit — they should be very proud, and this is a time to congratulate them.”
The Volvo fleet started racing Nov. 5, 2011, in Alicante, Spain. The VO70s sailed more than 39,000 nautical miles.