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America's Cup - Game on in San Francisco

by . on 10 Sep 2013
America’s Cup - Day 1, Oracle Team USA vs Emirates Team NZ - Emiartes Team NZ drives over Oracle Team USA at the start of Race 1. © Richard Gladwell www.richardgladwell.com
Welcome to Sail-World.com's latest America's Cup Newsletter for the 34th America's Cup

Emirates Team New Zealand is currently leading the 34th America’s Cup by three races to one, in terms of real points. That is a significant number in America’s Cup history, being the point at which Australia 2 began her clawback in 1983

There, Australia II started a race by race win strategy, which seems to the attitude with Oracle Team USA to get back into the regatta.

Certainly Emirates Team NZ has been the dominant boat in the regatta having come from behind in two of the four races sailed. Obviously she lost the last race and led the second from end to end. Being able to come from behind is generally the sign of having a very good boat and crew.

But in this instance it underlines how close the boats are, and the differences between them

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Both of the Kiwis fight backs have occurred on the windward leg of the five leg race. That is probably the key point of difference between the two boats. Oracle Team USA can maintain a lead if they have enough margin to be able to sail their own race and apply a loose cover over Emirates Team NZ.

But on the other hand New Zealand seems to be dominant in the close-quarters cut and thrust, which is the essence of Match Racing. They can move very quickly through the gears that this type of boat possesses. And with ease.

When this ability is linked with a good positioning strategy on the course, then Emirates Team NZ has a significant advantage.

The trick is get your opponent in to close quarters racing, getting control of the race from astern, and then try to get them out of phase before trying to break through.

Again classical match racing stuff, but when you add in the ability to pull off foiling roll tacks on demand, along with the ability to foot off and foil at a much higher speed to break through or sail over an opponent.

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For sure Oracle team USA seem to have all the same tricks, but don’t seem to be able to put them together as easily as Emirates Team NZ.

But it is a very even contest. Jimmy Spithill got a good jump on Emirates Team New Zealand at the start if race four – preventing the Kiwis from doing their usual of driving over the top of the US team, and being first to break the circle at Mark 1.

This time Spithill held high course, as a leeward boat is entitled to do. Maintained his luffing rights on Barker, and they rounded the mark, both outside the circle. Spithill had maintained control throughout and then it was up to the Kiwis to break through.

We hear that Emirates Team NZ suffered wingsail control issues in this race – which may explain her being unable to break through Oracle as she had done twice before.


The real test of this racing lies in the Performance Data, where the actual distance sailed in metres for both boats was near identical, and the only difference was in average boat speed. That is quite a difference from The Louis Viutton Cup where Emirates Team NZ, in one case, sailed a whopping 1800 metres ahead of the second placed boat.

Shoreside the regatta is very thing the organisers promised. It does have some issues, but the crowds love it, and they line the shore sometimes up to six deep to obtain a glimpse of the competitors.

In summary the Regatta seems to be working well – just like the brochure, and the relief ashore is palpable.

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In this edition we feature another of the video, and image galleries from Maritime Productions, harking back to previous America's Cups and providing a nice offset to the 34th Match. This video focuses on the 1983 America's Cup which was notable for USA suffering its first defeat in a Match.

From there the trophy has been defended in three non-US nations in the intervening 30 years, over.

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Stay tuned to our website www.Sail-World.com for daily updates on how the action unfolds in the 34th America’s Cup.

Good sailing!

Richard Gladwell .
Sail-World's America's Cup News Editor

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Stay up with the latest sailing news, as it happens, on our website www.sail-world.com

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