J.P. Morgan BAR skipper Ben Ainslie and crew aren't the only ones at America's Cup World Series San Francisco benefitting from a month of practice. So, too, are the two Artemis Racing crews.
Ainslie, the five-time Olympic medalist, extended the lead he opened yesterday with a first and second in the two races. With finishes of 1-3-1-2, Ainslie has the high score of 43 points, good for a 9-point lead on Terry Hutchinson's Artemis Racing - White and 11 points on Nathan Outteridge's Artemis Racing - Red.
Outteridge is the new helmsman in Artemis Racing. The 26-year-old joined the team last month after winning a gold medal at the London-Weymouth Olympic Regatta and six months of racing with Team Korea. He joined the team as a second helmsman to skipper Hutchinson, the veteran who won the inaugural America's Cup World Series match racing championship last season.
"Nathan's joined the Artemis team and we've had a great two-week session leading into this and made a lot progress sailing the boats together and learning from each other,"
said Hutchinson, who posted finishes of 2-1 in the two fleet races. "It's really good having someone with Nathan's skill to bounce ideas off and for debriefs."
For his part Outteridge posted a pair of fourths today, identical finishes to yesterday. But he said the feeling on board was much better than yesterday.
"We're happy because we sailed a lot better today than yesterday,"
said Outteridge. "Yesterday we were leading and dropped back to fourth. Today we fought up the fleet to place fourth. It's amazing the different feeling on the boat."
While Hutchinson and Outteridge are enjoying the exchange of ideas, the irony of a 26-year-old teaching the older generation isn't lost on the team CEO Paul Cayard.
"When I was a kid and did my first America's Cup, all the old experienced guys were in the back of the boat,"
said Cayard, who's calling tactics for Outteridge and riding in the front of the crew. "Now, the kids waltz in with their gold medals and get right on the wood (tiller) and the 53-year-olds are on the bow. It's upside down."
The two Artemis crews are also excelling in the match racing championship, with both advancing to tomorrow's semifinal round. Hutchinson will take on ORACLE TEAM USA SPITHILL (Jimmy Spithill) in one semifinal match while Outteridge will square off against Emirates Team New Zealand (Dean Barker) in the other match.
Outteridge made the semis after beating ORACLE TEAM USA COUTTS (Russell Coutts). Coutts had gotten a pre-start penalty on the young skipper and led the entire match, but rounded the wrong mark before heading to the finish line and was scored did not finish, handing the win to Outteridge.
"There's not much sense to explain that,"
said Coutts. "It is what it is. We went around the wrong mark, it's that simple."
One who enjoyed all the commotion from the guest racer seat was swimmer Natalie Coughlin, the 12-time Olympic medalist who won a bronze medal at the London Olympics. Coughlin, who is new to sailing, rode aboard Emirates Team New Zealand in the second fleet race.
"It was an awesome experience. I learned what amazing athletes these guys are,"
said Coughlin, who has won three gold medals in her career. "But even though we were going so fast, I was amazed at how peaceful it was. I was just taking a ride. It was really cool."
The two semifinal matches are scheduled tomorrow at 4:05 and 4:22 pm PDT. Two more fleet races will follow afterwards, at 4:50 and 5:30 pm PDT. And then the match racing championship will be held at 6:10 pm PDT.
AC World Series San Francisco Fleet Racing Championship (After 4 of 7 races)
1. J.P. Morgan BAR (Ben Ainslie) 1-3-1-2 - 43 points
2. Artemis Racing - White (Terry Hutchinson) 10-2-2-1 - 34
3. Artemis Racing - Red (Nathan Outteridge) 4-4-4-4 - 32
4. ORACLE TEAM USA SPITHILL (Jimmy Spithill) 8-1-6-5 - 29
5. Emirates Team New Zealand (Dean Barker) 2-8-5-6 - 27
6. Energy Team (Loick Peyron) 6-7-7-3 - 25
7. ORACLE TEAM USA COUTTS (Russell Coutts) 3-5-8-7 - 25
8. Luna Rossa Piranha (Chris Draper) 9-6-3-10 - 20
9. Team Korea (Peter Burling) 5-9-10-8 - 16
10. China Team (Phil Robertson) 7-10-11-9 - 11
11. Luna Rossa Swordfish (Iker Martinez) 11-11-9-11 - 6
(Scoring: 1st = 12 points, 2nd = 10, 3rd = 9, 4th = 8, 5th = 7, 6th = 6, 7th = 5, 8th = 4, 9th = 3, 10th = 2, 11th = 1)
Match Racing Standings (5th - 11th)
5. ORACLE TEAM USA COUTTS, 6. Energy Team, 7. J.P. Morgan BAR, 8. Team Korea, 9. China Team, 10. Luna Rossa Piranha, 11. Luna Rossa Swordfish