ORACLE TEAM USA had a strong day on the water on Friday in Fukuoka, Japan, ahead of racing in the ultimate event of the Louis Vuitton America's Cup World Series.
With a scoreline of 2, 1, 3, 2, on the official practice day, the team is prepared to make a late push for the top of the series leaderboard in an effort to secure the bonus points available to the top two teams at the conclusion of the series.
"It was some great racing today," said skipper Jimmy Spithill. "The course was nice and close to shore, there were a few passing lanes, it was nice to get at it. We had some good battles."
For Spithill, who needed to sit out the last event in Toulon due to an injury, it's a welcome return to the race course.
"It's been a while. I tore the tendon off my elbow in Portsmouth and unfortunately had to sit out the last event in France," said Spithill.
"It's pretty difficult to sit on the sidelines, but I took it as an opportunity to see it from outside and learn from a different perspective. But I'm hungry as ever now to try and bounce back and work with the guys to get us some points."
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The final race of the day was the designated substitute race, which may be scored over the weekend should conditions not be suitable for racing. ORACLE TEAM USA earned what could prove to be a valuable second place in that race.
Six races are scheduled over the next two days - three on Saturday, and three races, with double scoring points, on Sunday.
ORACLE TEAM USA is in second place on the overall leaderboard - a good result in this final event in Fukuoka could result in the team taking the win.
"We are here for a win and we'd love to get to the top. We'll be doing everything we can to overhaul the leaders," Spithill said. "I think it will come down to those last races on Sunday."
Louis Vuitton America's Cup World Series - Overall Leaderboard
Land Rover BAR --- 437
ORACLE TEAM USA --- 423
Emirates Team New Zealand --- 420
SoftBank Team Japan --- 399
Artemis Racing --- 391
Groupama Team France --- 360