With a little more than a week
remaining in the year, the focus for ORACLE TEAM USA hasn’t changed. All
eyes have been on 2013 for months, for years, with the same goal in
mind: defending the America’s Cup in San Francisco next September.
Ask any member of the team their New
Year’s resolution and it likely involves winning the Cup. Or more
immediately, it’s sailing ORACLE TEAM USA 17 again.
The San Francisco Bay was typically
frosty on a blustery weekday last October. A wind of up to 30 mph had
whipped the 50-degree water into whitecaps, across which crisscrossed a
fighter-jet-looking sailboat helmed by the America’s Cup champ and
wunderkind Australian skipper Jimmy Spithill.
Measuring 72 feet long with a
carbon-fiber “wing sail” 131 feet high, the boat has a racecar’s
unbridled speed and crash potential. In the gilded history of the
America’s Cup series in which it will be raced next summer, there has
never been anything quite like it.