Please select your home edition
Edition
Pantaenius EU 728x90

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.

Mackay BoatsAncasta Ker 40+ 660x82Wildwind 2016 660x82

Related Articles

America's Cup - Kiwi lodges Appeal against Jury in San Francisco Cup
Former Oracle Team USA crew member, Matthew Mitchell (NZL) has lodged an Appeal against a Decision to dismiss his case Former Oracle Team USA crew member, Matthew Mitchell (NZL) has lodged an Appeal against a Decision to dismiss his case taken against the International Jury for the 34th America's Cup in San Francisco. On October 28, 2016, US District Judge Vince Chhabria dismissed Mitchell's claim against the five-person International Jury on the basis that it was lodged too late.
Posted on 2 Dec
A Q&A with Nick Bice about the recent changes for the 2017/2018 VOR
I caught up with Nick Bice, the VOR’s director of boats and maintenance, to learn more about the VOR’s new directions. I recently had the pleasure of hearing Nick Bice, the Volvo Ocean Race’s director of boats and maintenance, deliver a keynote speech to an audience of marine-industry professionals and official Volvo Ocean Race suppliers at the 2016 METS trade show in Amsterdam. I caught up with Bice after his presentation to learn more about the new directions that the race is taking for its thirteenth edition.
Posted on 28 Nov
A Q&A with Sharon Green about the prep work that ensures great images
I talked with ace photographer Sharon Green to learn more about the prep work that goes into each image that she snaps. I caught up with ace photographer Sharon Green at the 2016 Alcatel J/70 Worlds to learn more about the behind-the-scenes preparation work that goes into each image that she snaps. While some of Green’s tips are specific to professional shooters (e.g., helicopter time or juggling multiple camera bodies), plenty of amateur lensmen will be well served to consider Green’s racecourse-proven tips.
Posted on 23 Nov
Dockside with CQS - radical, revamped supermaxi up close
The revamped supermaxi CQS is currently in Auckland's Silo Marina, ahead of her first race on Friday The revamped supermaxi CQS is currently in Auckland's Silo Marina, ahead of her first race on Friday - the White Island Race which will double as Rolex Sydney Hobart Qualifier. Originally the 90ft Nicorette designed by South African Alex Simonis, the new project to upgrade to a 100ft supermaxi has been led by Brett Bakewell-White (NZ) and Bakewell-White Yacht Design.
Posted on 22 Nov
Gladwell's Line - President Croce caught at helm in Perfect Storm
No real surprise that incumbent President Carlo Croce (ITA) was unseated mid-way an eight-year term After a year or more punctuated with issues that should not have happened, it is no real surprise that incumbent President Carlo Croce (ITA) was unseated mid-way through what should have been an eight-year term. Also gone is one of his lieutenants, Chris Atkins (GBR) as Vice President, who remarkably polled 13th out of the 15 candidates.
Posted on 15 Nov
Gladwell's Line -The America's Cup settlement deal
The 'News' today that Emirates Team New Zealand has won their case before the Arbitration Panel is not news The 'News' today that Emirates Team New Zealand has won their case before the America's Cup Arbitration Panel is not new - Sail-World reported the same story in the first and second weeks of September. The Hearing on the amount of compensation to be paid is yet to be held. So far we have been unable to discover a date if indeed one has been set. Maybe next year?
Posted on 11 Oct
Rio 2016 - America's Cup champ says Paralympic racing is closest ever
Twice America’s Cup champion, Rick Dodson is extremely impressed with the standard of racing in the three man Sonar Twice America’s Cup champion, Rick Dodson is extremely impressed with the standard of racing in the three man Sonar keelboat class at the 2016 Paralympics in Rio de Janeiro. The regatta is being held in Guanabara Bay on three of the courses used for the Olympic Sailing Regatta in August.
Posted on 13 Sep
A Q&A with Peter Bresnan ONE Palma’s founder and director
Sail-World interviewed ONE Palma’s founder Peter Bresnan to learn about the company’s partnership with McConaghy Boats For the past eight years, ONE Palma (formerly OneSails Spain) has been building a strong name, first as a sailmaker and later with refit work. Recently, ONE Palma and McConaghy Boats-legendary boatbuilders who have crafted some of the planet’s fastest sailboats-entered a business partnership. I caught up with Peter Bresnan, ONE Palma’s founder and director, to learn more about this new direction.
Posted on 2 Sep
America's Cup - Emirates Team NZ train late on the Waitemata Harbour
Emirates Team NZ were out for a training session that ran into the early Thursday evening. Emirates Team NZ were out for a training session that ran into the early Thursday evening. The team were sailing their recently launched AC45 Surrogate test boat which features an articulated rudder gantry - taking the AC45 close to the geometry of the AC50 to be used in the 2017 America's Cup.
Posted on 1 Sep
Dateline Rio - Sailing Olympics review - as good as it gets?
The Rio Sailing Olympics was widely judged to have been the best of recent times. The Rio Sailing Olympics was widely judged to have been the best of recent times. The weather was better than Weymouth and Qingdao, the courses more varied, but from a working media perspective, it was the people running the Rio regatta who really made the difference.
Posted on 26 Aug