ORACLE TEAM USA had a hard-fought battle on Super Sunday in Fukuoka, emerging with a second place finish on the overall Louis Vuitton America's Cup World Series leaderboard and securing a bonus point heading into the Louis Vuitton America's Cup Qualifiers next year.
The racing was brutal at times on Sunday with the stakes high and critical bonus points on the line.
ORACLE TEAM USA started the day in second place on the leaderboard, but with a focus on overhauling the leading British challenger to secure a second bonus point. But despite narrowing the gap in the first race, it wasn't to be.
"We wanted the points. We would have loved to have taken the two points," said skipper Jimmy Spithill. "But one thing we weren't going to let happen was to have Team New Zealand take our point off us. So we ended up in a bit of match race with them at the end. And the boys did a great job to keep them behind us."
At one point in the racing on Sunday, both BAR and Team New Zealand were pushing penalties onto ORACLE TEAM USA, attempting to drive the team further down the rankings. But each time, Spithill and crew fought back.
"That's us just living the dream as the defender," joked Spithill after the racing.
"But I'd like to congratulate BAR for winning the series. You get what you deserve in this game, and they sailed well."
Spithill was also quick to credit the full ORACLE TEAM USA team for its efforts this year.
"Our shore team and support crew and the guys on board have done a tremendous job over the last two years to make sure we had an opportunity to win it all, right down to the last day, and that's all you can ask for," he said. "I think it's a real tribute to them that we were in this position."
With the Fukuoka event marking the conclusion of racing in the Louis Vuitton America's Cup World Series, ORACLE TEAM USA will now re-double its efforts in Bermuda, in preparation for racing next year.
"Now we move on to the serious end of the business," Spithill said. "The America's Cup is what we have to focus on now.
"We've been doing a lot of work in Bermuda and some great testing with SoftBank Team Japan and Artemis Racing, and we've got an extensive development program to go.
"Our shore team and engineering team and designers have been working away in Bermuda while we've been here, so we'll fly back there tomorrow and put the hammer down again."
Louis Vuitton America's Cup World Series Fukuoka
(Team -- Race Finishes -- Points)
Land Rover BAR -- 1,3,2,4,2,3 -- 75 points
Artemis Racing -- 3,4,5,1,1,4 -- 75
ORACLE TEAM USA -- 4,2,1,3,3,5 -- 70
Emirates Team New Zealand -- 2,5,3,2,4,6 -- 65
SoftBank Team Japan -- 5,1,6,5,6,2 -- 61
Groupama Team France -- 6,6,4,6,5,1 -- 59
Louis Vuitton America's Cup World Series OVERALL Leaderboard
Land Rover BAR -- 512 points (earn two bonus points)
ORACLE TEAM USA -- 493 (earn one bonus point)
Emirates Team New Zealand -- 485
Artemis Racing -- 466
SoftBank Team Japan -- 460
Groupama Team France -- 419