Please select your home edition
Edition
Marine Resource 2016

Gladwell's Line- Change but no Change

by Richard Gladwell on 14 Sep 2013
Emirates Team NZ leads on Leg 1 of Race 7 Richard Gladwell www.photosport.co.nz
Emirates Team New Zealand has now stretched her score to six wins, to lead the 34th America’s Cup by six races to one, in terms of real points.

After Race 5, Oracle Team USA skipper, Jimmy Spithill, came under intense questioning at the post-race media conference, as to whether they would be replacing tactician John Kostecki in the afterguard.

If Spithill knew, he wasn’t saying.

On Wednesday, Oracle Team USA again took to the water, but this time with multiple Olympic Gold medalist in the afterguard, and wearing Kostecki’s named buoyancy vest. The move fooled no-one. And when the crew lists were published this morning the change was complete.

Despite making an apparent bold move, nothing changed on the race course. Emirates Team NZ were dominant, particularly upwind, where the Kiwi team asked more questions on the Defending team. Again there were no answers.

After muffing the start, Emirates Team NZ trailed Oracle Team USA by several seconds at the first reach mark in Race 6, maintained contact down the first run. Then a few tacks into the only windward beat of the five leg race, they were back in command – and the only question was how big would the finishing margin be?

Some clever tactics at various stages of the beat only exacerbated Oracle Team USA’s woes, and the winning margin was as much a product of better tactics, as it was of boatspeed.

In the second race of the day, Oracle’s rout was complete, with Emirates Team NZ’s afterguard pulling off only their second winning start of the regatta. They held a narrow win at the first mark and again kept ahead of Oracle Team USA, before lighting the afterburner for the beat -for the same result that we have seen in six of the seven races sailed.

At the media conference, Spithill made it clear that the call to replace Kostecki was his and his alone. There was no pressure from his Masters, he said.

Perhaps the best that could be said of switching the local knowledge of Kostecki, for the redoubtable Ainslie, is that Spithill, and the rest of the Oracle team would never die wondering, if they should have made the change.

They made the bold call, but it had little effect on the outcome.

Perhaps the difference between the two teams was highlighted yesterday in the Oracle practice session, which consisted of a few runs up and down the harbor. It was unlikely that they would find out too much new in the way of windward speed from that exercise. It seemed to be more a work up exercise with Ainslie in the back of the boat.

Had they been looking to fix an upwind speed problem, Emirates Team NZ’s probable approach would have been to go outside the Golden Gate Bridge, as they have done so many times in the Hauraki Gulf, and put in a long speed testing session – maybe with 15 mile beats – without the variables of current and windpressure inside San Francisco Bay which make accurate speed testing a nonsense.

While there are brave words being uttered by Oracle Team USA about fighting hard to the end, the fact remains that they are no match for Emirates Team NZ on the windward leg – although most would concede that they do have a very slight edge in most other phases of the racing.

With six of the required nine wins on their scorecard, this regatta is now Emirates Team NZ’s to lose, more than it is Oracle’s to win. Simply put the Defender is no longer the master of their own destiny.

However as we saw in the Louis Vuitton Cup, given a small combination of factors, Emirates Team NZ are more than capable of nosediving, and maybe with more catastrophic results. Then the pendulum would swing the Oracle way.

The America’s Cup is far from over.

Ancasta Ker 40+ 660x82Southern Spars - 100Zhik AkzoNobelb 660x82

Related Articles

She’s still here with us, and now we can be there for her
Of the many endearing qualities in Lisa Blair, the most paramount is her effervescence. Of the many endearing qualities in Lisa Blair, the most paramount is her effervescence. Yet it is what lies behind that which could be her most incredible characteristic. Sometimes you can almost overlook her steely determination, but not for long when you start talking with her. Catching up with her live from Cape Town surely was a vivid reminder of not only what this sailor can accomplish...
Posted today at 1:08 am
Gladwell's Line - Timeout in Bermuda and a decision OTUSA will regret?
With Emirates Team New Zealand's AC50 now in Bermuda and being re-assembled, it is time to take a breath With Emirates Team New Zealand's AC50 now in Bermuda and being re-assembled, it is time to take a breath from what has been a hectic couple of months, both in Auckland and Bermuda. The third major Practice Session has concluded in Bermuda. This was conducted almost entirely if winds of around 16-25kts - starting to get close to the top end of the range for the AC50's.
Posted on 20 Apr
America's Cup - Glenn Ashby on hitting the AC50's sound barrier
These boats are incredible. The performance that can be achieved in light airs is the amazing thing. The big difference between the AC72, the America's Cup Class, used in the 2013 America's Cup in San Francisco and the smaller AC50 to be sailed in Bermuda, lies in their light and medium air performance. 'These boats are incredible. The performance that can be achieved in light airs is the amazing thing. In 7-8-9-10 knots of breeze, you are sailing at 30kts at times.
Posted on 18 Apr
America's Cup - Bernasconi on expected winning factors in Bermuda
ETNZ's Technical Director, Dan Bernasconi has let out a few clues as to where he thought the differences might lie Emirates Team NZ's Technical Director, Dan Bernasconi has let out a few clues as to where he thought the differences might lie once the six teams entered in the 35th America's Cup. 'We have had a great run', he says. 'We've had a few hiccups along the way, as always. But the boat is going really well. We are getting through manoeuvres very well. And we think our straight line speed is good.'
Posted on 18 Apr
America's Cup - Team NZ return fire at Coutts' social media bullets
Emirates Team New Zealand have corrected the allegations made by America's Cup organisers Emirates Team NZ have corrected the allegations made by America's Cup organisers in a media release on Thursday (NZT) over the team's daggerboard use. In the release, replayed by America's Cup Events Authority and Oracle Team USA CEO Sir Russell Coutts on his Facebook page. It was claimed that the Kiwi team had an issue with daggerboards and were using a rule they had not supported to keep sailing
Posted on 2 Apr
New Pacific 52 class makes its debut in San Francisco
The first of two new-build Pacific 52's from Auckland's Cookson Boats is now sailing in San Francisco. The first of two new-build Pacific 52's from Auckland's Cookson Boats is now sailing in San Francisco. Invisible Hand for San Francisco's Frank Slootman replaces his earlier RP63 of the same name. She will soon be joined by a second Cookson build, Bad Pack (Tom Holthus) from the same moulds. A third, RIO 52 is for RIO 100 supermaxi owner Manouch Moshayedi.
Posted on 18 Mar
Gladwell's Line - Of Carnage, Characters and Colour
About this time of an America's Cup season, the sap begins rising as new boats are launched About this time of an America's Cup season, the sap begins rising as new boats are launched, and Cup fans get their first sight of the various team designers' response to the latest America's Cup Class rule. In the monohull days, of course, we initially only got a partial glimpse thanks to the shrouding practices adopted by all teams to hide the nether regions of their America's Cupper
Posted on 13 Mar
So what’s it really like?
For ages now, these editorials have talked about multihull this, record that, outrageous boat speed and 24-hour runs For ages now, well it seems like that anyway, these editorials have talked about multihull this, record that, outrageous boat speed and incredible 24-hour runs. In their own very unique way they totally represent the technical avant-garde, and thank God for that. Where would we be without their impressive shapes, wonderful rigs, and now of course, foiling magic.
Posted on 6 Mar
JJ Giltinan 18ft - Kiwi Champion the subject of two protests in Sydney
Overall series leader Yamaha will have her position put on the line in a series of protest hearings on Friday Overall series leader Yamaha will have her position put on the line in a series of protest hearings Friday morning in Sydney. She faces two claims - both from Appliancesonline (David Witt). The first is an attempt to re-open the Hearing held on Wednesday morning after Yamaha was suffered damage in Race 3 as a result of a collision with a give way yacht, and Yamaha received redress of average
Posted on 3 Mar
America's Cup - Emirates Team NZ give first look at the pedaling AC50
Emirates Team New Zealand formally christened their new AC50 America's Cup Challenger on a rainy Auckland afternoon. Emirates Team New Zealand formally christened their new AC50 America's Cup Challenger on a rainy Auckland afternoon. The team has been sailing for the previous two days making news headlines after it was revealed in Sail-World.com that the AC50 would become only the second yacht in America's Cup history to use pedal power.
Posted on 16 Feb