With only two races to go in the World Series run of the America’s Cup, the Oracle Racing Spithill team is sitting atop the standings after a strong finish in Naples, Italy a couple of weeks ago, but is still looking to improve.
“We learned a lot in Naples. Our team did relatively well,” Oracle tactician John Kostecki said. “We’re really working on getting both teams on the leaderboard in Venice.”
The Spithill team finished in second place during the Naples race, moving them to the top of the standings, but it took some time to get that top spot.
Emirates Team New Zealand, which had been the leader prior to the last race, is only one point behind the Spithill team as the team’s prepare for the next race in Venice, Italy, starting Tuesday.
“It’s not a whole lot different than before and we’re just trying to become a better team,” Kostecki said. “What we’ve found is that each team has gotten better.”
Oracle Racing’s Bundock team is currently tied for fifth with Team Korea and 20 points behind the Spithill team.
Knowing this, Kostecki and his team are still working to improve.
“The flatter water conditions are easier to sail in,” Kostecki said. “It’s going to come down to technique. Starts will be critical.”
Unlike the choppy conditions they encountered in Naples, the Venice course, Kostecki said, resembles more of a pond.
“A fair amount of the racing will be inside near the main part of the city,” Kostecki said. “It’s like sailing on a pond. It will be a lot different than what we had in Naples. Most of the races were quite rough for how much wind.”
The teams arrived late last week for the Venice race, but the nine-hour time change between California and Venice can take some getting used to.
Kostecki, as an example, said it takes him about five or six days to adjust to the time change.
“It takes me a long time,” Kostecki said. “Fortunately most of our team is based in Europe. For some reason, the nine hour is one of the worst.”
The teams have not practiced in boats between the races and did not get into one until they arrived in Venice.
“We’re a little bit different being the defender,” Kostecki said. “We’re more on the sidelines and we have to do the racing in-house. We’re trying to develop enough inside competition inside ourselves, to push ourselves to be better than the challengers. That’s going to be our focus from now until the Cup.”