Crews ramping up preparations for AC World Series Naples

France's Energy Team practiced on Monday with members of its youth team for the Red Bull Youth America's Cup (©ACEA 2013/Photo: Gilles Martin-Raget). France's Energy Team practiced on Monday with members of its youth team for the Red Bull Youth America's Cup (©ACEA 2013/Photo: Gilles Martin-Raget).


A China Team crewmember tails a sheet (©ACEA 2013/Photo: Gilles Martin-Raget). A China Team crewmember tails a sheet (©ACEA 2013/Photo: Gilles Martin-Raget).


China Team skipper Mitch Booth (©ACEA 2013/Photo: Gilles Martin-Raget). China Team skipper Mitch Booth (©ACEA 2013/Photo: Gilles Martin-Raget).


J.P. Morgan BAR and ORACLE TEAM USA SLINGSBY practice on a sunny day on the Bay of Naples (©ACEA 2013/Photo: Gilles Martin-Raget). J.P. Morgan BAR and ORACLE TEAM USA SLINGSBY practice on a sunny day on the Bay of Naples (©ACEA 2013/Photo: Gilles Martin-Raget).


J.P. Morgan BAR skipper Ben Ainslie is looking to improve on his solid showing at AC World Series San Francisco last October (©ACEA 2013/Photo: Gilles Martin-Raget). J.P. Morgan BAR skipper Ben Ainslie is looking to improve on his solid showing at AC World Series San Francisco last October (©ACEA 2013/Photo: Gilles Martin-Raget).


ORACLE TEAM USA SLINGSBY looks to  add the overall championship of the second AC World Series. ORACLE TEAM USA also won the first season (©ACEA 2013/Photo: Gilles Martin-Raget). ORACLE TEAM USA SLINGSBY looks to add the overall championship of the second AC World Series. ORACLE TEAM USA also won the first season (©ACEA 2013/Photo: Gilles Martin-Raget).


Roman Hagara (left) and Hans-Peter Steinacher are co-skippers of new entry HS Racing (©ACEA 2013/Photo: Gilles Martin-Raget). Roman Hagara (left) and Hans-Peter Steinacher are co-skippers of new entry HS Racing (©ACEA 2013/Photo: Gilles Martin-Raget).


After a weekend of activity that included the opening ceremony for America’s Cup World Series Naples and a long, 21-mile coastal race, today the crews entered in the competition were split between time on the water and a day off.

Emirates Team New Zealand, winner of the informal coastal race, Luna Rossa Challenge and Artemis Racing all took the day off. Although skipper Dean Barker and the Kiwi crew weren’t on the water, a team video recaps their effort in the coastal race (see video at bottom of page). The other six teams, however, spent time on the water.

ORACLE TEAM USA SLINGSBY and J.P. Morgan BAR were out training together, practicing starts and races. Slingsby, the Olympic Gold medalist in the Laser, has his work cut out for him trying to keep the pace set by team skipper Jimmy Spithill that sees the crew sitting atop the season leaderboard, more than 40 points clear of 2nd place Chris Draper’s Luna Rossa Piranha crew.

“Everyone has said ‘you can’t stuff it up,’” says Slingsby. “Jimmy has given us a big lead in the World Series, and I can only lose it. I think for us, we’ll go out there and do our best. We’ve got a young team, new people in new roles all the way through the team. We’ll do our best and see how it works out.”

France’s Energy Team is racing with skipper Yann Guichard, who guided the crew to 4th place at last year’s AC World Series Naples. Energy Team is also supporting an entry in the Red Bull Youth America’s Cup, and today Guichard shared the helm with the youth team skipper.

Mitch Booth, who was China Team’s first skipper in 2011, has stepped away from the commentary mic and returned to the helm of the Chinese yacht. Booth will be racing with a young crew of Chinese nationals, aged between 20 and 26, that was largely selected from a training camp held last November. China Team also expects to host Xu Lijia, China’s Gold Medalist from London 2012 in the Laser Radial, as a guest racer in Naples.

The ninth and final crew arrived in Naples this morning. HS Racing, featuring Roman Hagara and Hans-Peter Steinacher, landed in Naples after completing an event in Singapore over the weekend. No rest for the weary, they immediately took to the water and began practicing in the AC45.

The first official practice for AC World Series Naples is scheduled on Wednesday, and racing is scheduled Thursday through Sunday.

http://youtu.be/FFQz3niexbs