by Bob Fisher
Oracle Team USA vs Emirates Team New Zealand, Race Day 13
Larry Ellison delivered the keynote speech at OracleWorld, the 60,000-strong conference (that has filled San Francisco hotels and doubled the room rates) of the software company on Sunday, but on Monday he deserted the multitude and took to a RIB to watch the racing and cheer on his America’s Cup team. He returned to shore happier.
Once more the outcome of the race was decided in the first minute. Jimmy Spithill pulled the trigger a second before Dean Barker and Oracle Team New Zealand was able to forge sufficiently far ahead on the first short reach to Mark 1 to break the Kiwis’ inside overlap. Game over.
Once ahead, the Brains Trust (Spithill, Ben Ainslie and Tom Slingsby) went to work for Oracle, keeping the American boat ahead. The Kiwis did not give up and delivered repeated challenges – Emirates Team New Zealand’s gap to her opponent varied as if they were tied with bungee cord, but there was never quite enough elastic power to shoot the boat that led.
The gap went from 100 metres to 400, and back again and the breaths of the New Zealand supporters on Pier 27 and along the Marina Green (and there are thousands of them) were held as ETNZ caught up. If they could have willed the outcome, there is no doubt what it would have been.
But the support that the home team is receiving is beginning to match that. Jimmy Spithill remarked after Sunday’s race that the team was beginning to appreciate this new-found support that appears to be stretch outside of San Francisco to the rest of America. 'It’s making a difference to us,' he said.
Whatever it is, it has taken Oracle Team USA to five consecutive victories and there appears no end to this momentum. The shoulders of the Emirates Team New Zealand crew were noticeably sagging when she finished 33 seconds in arrears.
There was no second race and the forecast for Tuesday is for fresher winds that the 14 knots of Monday.