Please select your home edition
Edition
Fever-Tree 728x90

America's Cup- Where to now, O Oracle?

by Bob Fisher on 13 Sep 2013
America’s Cup Day 4, San Francisco. Emirates Team NZ leads Oracle Team USA on Leg 3 Richard Gladwell www.photosport.co.nz

Swapping Ben Ainslie to replace John Kostecki didn’t make the hoped-for difference in performance for Oracle Team USA.

The team lost two races to Emirates Team New Zealand with the Kiwi gains made principally on the upwind legs. What is left for the Cup defender?

It would appear that major alterations are to be made to the OTUSA boat, according to skipper Jimmy Spithill. He said that alterations would be made and that it might not leave any time for the team to practice afloat on Friday. And that practice is sorely needed for the team that has only won a single race in seven.

Asked if he had lost hope of winning, Spithill countered: 'If these guys [pointing to Dean Barker and Glenn Ashby] lost from here, just think of that!' He obviously wasn’t, but judging from the racing in races six and seven, there have got to be major changes to the Oracle boat and the way it is sailed if it is to retain the Cup for the Golden Gate Yacht Club.

One thing the American team (with only one US national on board) cannot do is fit a self-tacking jib to the boat. This is certainly proving effective for the Kiwis each time they tack, but Spithill admitted: 'We don’t have the backing structure to accommodate one.'

Oracle proved in the first race that they could still start well. Spithill and Ainslie working in consort with wing trimmer Kyle Langford brought their AC-72 to the line with hardly a whisker between the bow and the line as the gun fired. It was perfection and ETNZ trailed by nine seconds at the first mark.

The Kiwis seemed undeterred and hung on grimly downwind arriving at the leeward gate just 12 seconds down, but, more importantly, they were able to split tacks. Oracle had taken the left hand buoy and headed to the shore while ETNZ went for the right hand mark and sailed towards the cone of tide relief behind Alcatraz Island.

The Kiwis were gaining and at the third cross, Dean Barker, on starboard tack, did a classic match racing dial-down, forcing Oracle to dip further to avoid him – memories of him being the recipient of this move by Brad Butterworth six years ago in Valencia came flooding back.

It worked for Barker this time and once ahead, the Kiwis strode away to round the weather mark 46 seconds up.

The race was, to all intents, over. The downwind shuffling did nothing for the Cup defenders and the challenger crossed the line 47 seconds in front to record their fifth victory.

The seventh race followed hard on that one’s heels and this time it was one-way traffic. Barker and his crew won the start to lead by two seconds around the first mark and stretched another five seconds downwind. Then the supercharger came into play and the Kiwis waltzed up to windward to pass through the gate 56 seconds to the good.

There was nothing Spithill and his afterguard could do – the gap stretched and Emirates Team New Zealand crossed the finishing line one minute and six seconds to the good.

After seven races, the scoreline is Emirates Team New Zealand 6 – OTUSA minus 1. The next four races, if necessary, will be held over the coming weekend.
Mariners Museum 660x82North Technology - Southern SparsZhik AkzoNobelb 660x82

Related Articles

An interview with Patrick Kennedy about the Ida Lewis Distance Race
I interviewed Patrick Kennedy, chair of the 2017 ILDR, via email to learn more about the race’s history and evolution. With this year’s Ida Lewis Distance Race set to unfurl the weekend of August 18-20, I caught up with Patrick Kennedy, chair of the 2017 ILDR, via email to learn more about the race’s history and evolution, its challenges, and the event’s new partnership with the 2017 J/Fest New England.
Posted on 14 Aug
An interview with Marianne Davis about the CORK International Regatta
I interviewed Marianne Davis, co-chair of the CORK International Regatta, to learn about the regatta’s state of affairs. While the various CORK regattas' registration lists include international sailors, these events are some of the gemstones in Sail Canada’s yearly championship calendar, making them of extra importance to Canadian sailors. I recently caught up with Marianne Davis, co-chair of the 2017 event, via email, to learn more about the CORK International Regatta’s evolution and its current state of affairs.
Posted on 7 Aug
A Q&A with the RORC’s Nick Elliott about the 2017 Rolex Fastnet Race
I caught up with Nick Elliott, RORC Racing Manager, via email, to learn more about the world-famous Rolex Fastnet Race. When one stops to consider the world’s best ocean races, the Royal Offshore Racing Club’s Rolex Fastnet Race, which starts on Sunday, August 6, 2017, is never far from mind. I caught up with Nick Elliott, RORC Racing Manager, via email to learn more about the race’s history and evolution, its challenges, and the amount of work that goes into pulling off this world-famous regatta.
Posted on 1 Aug
Ian Walker - Musto Ambassador on the Volvo Ocean Race, America's Cup
Ian Walker on his Volvo Ocean Race win, why food and clothing are so important offshore, his views on the America's Cup We speak to Musto ambassador Ian Walker about his Volvo Ocean Race win, why food and clothing are so important offshore, his views on the America's Cup, his new desk job, sailing for fun, and 20 years of the John Merricks Sailing Trust.
Posted on 23 Jul
Black Jack Yachting. Bigger boat. Bigger team. Even bigger performance
Throughout the iterations of maxis called Black Jack, a strong, consistent and talented team has been their focus Throughout the iterations of maxis called Black Jack, a strong, consistent and talented team has been their focus. Some were sail makers, like Skipper Mark Bradford and also Vaughan Prentice from North Sails’ Brisbane loft. Others were riggers, such as Bruce Clarke, and there are even boat builders, like Gary van Lunteren, as well as Ash Deeks.
Posted on 20 Jul
A Q&A with Tom Trujillo about the Transpacific Race’s 49th running
Sail-World interviewed Tom Trujillo, the Transpac Race’s PRO, via email to learn more about this classic bluewater race. The Transpac Race (est 1906) is in a rarefied group of four races that are considered sailing’s greatest bluewater Corinthian challenges, and it welcomes a wildly diverse fleet of bluewater-worthy boats. The 49th running of this classic race is currently underway, so Sail-World caught up with Tom Trujillo, the race’s principal race officer, via email to learn more.
Posted on 7 Jul
Gladwell's Line - America's Cup returns to its new home and thinking
Emirates Team New Zealand's win in the 35th America's Cup ends 17-years of wandering in the AC wilderness Emirates Team New Zealand's win in the 35th America's Cup ends 17-years of wandering in the AC wilderness and will open a new era of America's Cup, New Zealand and World Sailing. A rookie crew won the most prestigious trophy in sailing, and one of the most difficult to win in any sport.
Posted on 29 Jun
SuperFoilers Are Go!
SuperFoilers represent many things. Whilst those components are disparate and virtually from different planets SuperFoilers represent many things. Whilst those components are disparate and virtually from different planets in the great scheme of things, they come together in the one form as harmoniously as a Rolls Royce, and also deliver intense energy way past the sum of their parts, just like some amazing band.
Posted on 28 Jun
A Q&A with Kimball Livingston about San Francisco high school sailing
I emailed with my friend and colleague Kimball Livingtston to learn about San Francisco’s latest sailing revolution. I started hearing whispers of shifts in the San Francisco Bay high school sailing scene a couple of months ago. A few inquiries led me to my good friend and colleague Kimball Livingston, a world-class sailor, scribe, and StFYC staff commodore who isn’t one to keep his seaboots dry when the topic turns to opportunities for the next sailing generation. I caught up with KL via email to learn more.
Posted on 13 Jun
A Q&A with Andrew Howe about winning the 2015 Marion to Bermuda Race
I interviewed Andrew Howe, the 2015 Marion to Bermuda Race’s winning co-navigator, to learn more about their race. In 2015, skipper Greg Marston and the crew of Ti, a 1967 Alden Mistral, racing under celestial rules, were the overall winners of the Marion Bermuda Race Founders Division, beating boats that were enjoying GPS accuracy. On the eve of the 2017 edition of the race, I reached out to Andrew Howe, the team’s co-navigator, to gain perspective on this impressive win and hear about his 2017 plans.
Posted on 7 Jun