The America’s Cup Defender, Oracle Team USA and the Challenger Softbank Team Japan have been practising in their AC45S catamarans in Bermuda.
Practice racing by the Defender against Challengers gives Oracle Team USA the opportunity to hone its match racing skills and develop its playbook, says the team.
But it doesn’t always go your way although sometimes those make the best lessons, they add.
In this video, Oracle Team USA is in a pre-start with their buddies SoftBank Team Japan. Last week Bermuda based media reported that three teams Defenders Oracle Team USA and Challengers Artemis Racing and Softbank Team Japan would be holding Practice Racing together.
Oracle Team USA’s Tactician Tom Slingsby (AUS) describes what happens:
We were leading into the start and our goal was to keep them close but not overlapped. Unfortunately we gave them too much room and they were able to build a lot of speed. At that point they’re doing 20 knots more than us and it’s difficult to judge when to accelerate to match. We didn’t react quickly enough and we were hooked pretty easily, they luffed us head to wind and won the start.
The start is a big part of the race but it’s not the whole race. If you make any mistakes the other guy gets back in the game quickly. But it’s much better to win the start!
Unlike previous America’s Cups teams in Bermuda, there are no surveillance rules, no prohibitions on the swapping of performance and design data and only one member of the sailing crew has to hold a passport of the state of origin of the challenging/defending club.