Oracle Team USA had a solid opening day in Toulon at the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series.
First-time helmsman Tom Slingsby guided the team to a fourth place position on the daily leaderboard after three races in very light and challenging conditions.
Saturday’s scoreline of 3 – 5 – 4 doesn’t begin to indicate how difficult and unpredictable the races were.
Oracle Team USA was at or near the lead at one point in each race. But every team saw itself move up and down the in-race leaderboard in the tricky conditions.
Importantly, Oracle Team USA made up one point on series leader Ben Ainslie, and is now tied with the British challenger at the top of the overall series leaderboard.
“Anytime you come out of a day like today with a gain, you have to feel fortunate,” said Slingsby. “It was very tricky, a game of snakes and ladders.
“I think we probably sailed better than our results would indicate. I don’t say that lightly. Everyone has some bad luck on a day like today, but there were times when we needed maybe a couple of meters to cross someone but we couldn’t and then we lost three or four places as a result. That seemed to happen more than luck would indicate. But the main thing is it’s all to play for tomorrow with the double points.”
Slingsby says his first day of racing on the helm was enough to get comfortable – no excuses, no reason to hold back.
“While it’s hard to get a really good feel on a day like today, I feel good. I don’t think there’s a skill gap that’s holding us back, he said.
“For myself, I feel like I’ve had enough practice and if we sail well tomorrow we can win every race. That’s our goal, to get a good result.”
With only nine points separating first from last in Toulon, the leaderboard is compact and open. Races will be scored with double points on Super Sunday, so plenty of points are available.
Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series Toulon Leaderboard – Day One:
Position – Team – (Race Finish Positions) – Total Points
1. Artemis Racing (1, 1, 3) – 28 points
2. Groupama Team France (4, 3, 2)– 24 points
3. Emirates Team New Zealand (2, 2, 6) – 23 points
4. Oracle Team USA (3, 5, 4) – 21 points
5. Land Rover BAR (6, 6, 1) – 20 points
6. SoftBank Team Japan (5, 4, 5) – 19 points
Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series Overall Leaderboard
1. Land Rover BAR – 387 points
2. Oracle Team USA – 387 points
3. Emirates Team New Zealand – 380 points
4. SoftBank Team Japan – 347 points
5. Artemis Racing – 343 points
6. Groupama Team France – 316 points
by Oracle Team USA