America's Cup 2013 - Emirates Team New Zealand’s start to finish win in Race 11 on San Francisco Bay today took the Kiwi challenger to match point in the 34th America’s Cup against defender Oracle Team USA.
Oracle Team USA v Emirates Team New Zealand. America’s Cup Day 8 San Francisco. Emirates Team NZ leads Oracle Team USA on Leg 4 of Race 11
Once again the 10 second lead provided for the Port entry boat into the starting box allowed that boat to dominate tactics.
That was Emirates Team New Zealand (ETNZ) with Dean Barker holding Spithill out, slowing the defender almost to zero at the start line, before putting his bow down and powering towards the first mark with a good lead.
The Kiwis extended slightly down the run, with a six second delta at the bottom mark. The long upwind leg was hard, Oracle Team USA kept attacking but ETNZ covered ever one of ten tacks.
On the run to the final mark the American boat reduced the lead from 300 metres to 100 metres but again the Kiwi tactician Ray Davies was sound. ETNZ slid around mark four slowly but the following Oracle boat was still a gybe away and it was a procession in the blast reach to the finish.
Oracle Team USA v Emirates Team New Zealand. America's Cup Day 8 San Francisco. Emirates Team NZ heads for the finish of Race 11
As the two crews were positioning themselves ahead of the start for Race 12, with the Kiwis definitely better placed the race committee postponed the sequence because the wind strength had exceeded the prescribed wind limit, forcing the Kiwis to wait until tomorrow for a chance to take the Cup back to Auckland.
Emirates Team New Zealand leads Oracle Team USA 8-1 on the scoreboard, in the first to nine point series.
The Kiwis need just one more race win to secure the America’s Cup for the third time (1995, 2000), while Oracle Team USA needs to win an extremely unlikely eight races in a row to defend the trophy it won in 2010 in Valencia.
Brave words from the American camp. 'It’s not over; it’s a long way from over,' said Spithill.
'Both teams would’ve liked to have sailed the second race, but Iain (Murray, Regatta Director) has to stick by the limits that are set.'
Barker stayed on message 'Every win here is so hard, they’re monumental battles, so you’re thankful for every win you get.
'We had a bit of an idea how to attack it and it worked out as well as it could have. We had a nice little jump, sailed a good first run, at the bottom mark another split and backwards and forwards after that. We were happy to sneak away with another win.'
Emirates Team New Zealand gets two more chances tomorrow to take the America's Cup and it will be a surprise if they do not win in one.
The wind is forecast to be similar to today, San Francisco ground hog summer weather- light to moderate for the first race and building for the second race.
Oracle Team USA skipper Spithill insists there is still a contest.
'The boat seems to go well in a breeze, that’s obvious,' said Spithill. 'But I think we can still win races in the light stuff. We’re looking hard every night at what we can do. We’d love to get on with the racing, but we’ve got those wind limits and have to obey them. Whatever the conditions are we’ll go into it 100 percent.'
Jimmy we believe you, it’s just we are a little distracted by the sounds coming from the Fat Lady's dressing room.
Our America's Cup and Sail-Word New Zealand Editor Richard Gladwell is filing from SFO airport now, before heading south right to be at the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron for Race 12.
Oracle Team USA v Emirates Team New Zealand. America's Cup Day 8 San Francisco. Emirates Team NZ performance crew are all smiles as they come aboard after Race 11
34th America’s Cup Standings (first to 9 points wins)
Emirates Team New Zealand – 8
Oracle Team USA – 1
Race 11 Performance Data
Course: 5 Legs/10.16 nautical miles
Elapsed Time: ETNZ – 23:41, OTUSA – 23:56
Delta: ETNZ +:15
Total distance sailed: ETNZ – 11.7 NM, OTUSA – 11.5 NM
Average Speed: ETNZ – 29.88 knots (34 mph), OTUSA – 29.04 knots (33 mph)
Top Speed: ETNZ – 44.57 knots (51 mph), OTUSA – 42.70 knots (49 mph)
Windspeed: Average – 15.4 knots, Peak – 18.0 knots
Number of Tacks/Jibes: ETNZ – 10/6, OTUSA – 10/8
Tomorrows races - Thursday, Sept. 19: Race 12 (1:15 pm PT), Race 13* (2:15 pm PT)
Once again our Sail-World coverage of the day's events will be comprehensive.