15 Jun 2017 - Rome Kirby is a second-generation America’s Cup winner. His dad, Jerry Kirby, won the America’s Cup in 1992 and Rome was a rookie on board “17” for the Comeback Cup four years ago, when ORACLE TEAM USA came back from a 1-8 deficit to beat Emirates Team New Zealand 9-8. “I remember hoisting the America’s Cup up,” Kirby says. “I walked across the stage and my whole family was in the front row. I remember holding the Cup up in front of them was a pretty special moment. We’re going to do our best to hold on to it.”
That means making use of every minute before racing starts on June 17. ORACLE TEAM USA won the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup Qualifiers on Sunday June 4th, earning themselves a point to carry forwards into the America's Cup Match presented by Louis Vuitton. The team hasn’t been racing since, confined to the sidelines while the Challenger Playoffs saw Emirates Team New Zealand rise to the top and beat out all other contenders to become the Challenger.
During that time, the two-time defender has been practicing, evolving its boat, testing new equipment and practicing some more. “We’re trying to maximize our days,” sailor Matt Cassidy said. “We have a huge checklist to get through, whether it be boat-handling or speed tests and we need to get every minute out there that we can.”
A big focus has been on the pre-start playbook, where the team feels it may have an advantage over the Kiwis, and on getting more consistent in maneuvers, in an effort to be as prepared as possible when racing starts on Saturday.
“You can’t ever take your foot off the gas,” confirmed Joey Newton, a veteran member of the sailing team on his sixth America’s Cup campaign. “We will keep pushing right through to the end, because we know that’s what it takes to win".
“There’s no greater prize in yachting than the America’s Cup,” he says. “It’s a lifelong dream for every sailor on this team to win the America’s Cup. This is my sixth campaign, and it is by far the most intense. We’re not giving this up without a fight and I really like our chances.”