SYDNEY (AP) America’s Cup holder Oracle Team USA says it has shipped one of its AC45 catamarans to Australia for the start of its 2014 sailing program on Sydney Harbour in March.
Oracle Team USA has scheduled a series of practice races against Team Australia, the Challenger of Record for the 2017 America’s Cup representing the Hamilton Island Yacht Club.
“This training session on Sydney Harbour is the first of a series of trials and training sessions for our sailing team and will be the first time our sailors have been together since the America’s Cup,” Oracle Team USA sailing team manager Tom Slingsby of Australia said in a statement Feb. 19.
“These sessions will be coordinated with Team Australia and we’re looking forward to sailing against this new Cup team,” the Sydney-born Olympic gold medalist said.
Oracle Team USA skipper Jimmy Spithill, another Australian, announced earlier this month he will remain with the team for the next America’s Cup.
Oracle Team USA came back to beat Team New Zealand 9-8 in a thrilling contest for the 34th America’s Cup last year.
“It’s a unique situation in the America’s Cup cycle having a defender coming to a challenger’s country,” Team Australia chief executive Iain Murray told Australian Associated Press. “But it’s a really good moment for us to start our sailing team out there against the best guys in the world.”