Please select your home edition
Edition
Marine Resource 2016

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.
upffront 660x82T Clewring J-classBakewell-White Yacht Design

Related Articles

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
Debriefing the Rio 2016 Olympics with Team USA’s Helena Scutt
I talked with Team USA’s Helena Scutt to hear about her Olympic experience, and to learn more about her post-Rio plans. The 49erFX was introduced to Olympic circles when it replaced the Women’s Match Racing event following the 2012 Games. Not surprisingly, it drew high-performance sailors for the Rio 2016 Olympics, including Team USA’s Paris Henken and Helena Scutt. While Henken and Scutt were Olympic first-timers, they put on a strong show. I caught up with Scutt to hear more about her Olympic experience.
Posted on 8 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
Rio 2016 - Plain speaking by triple-medalist on Olympic sailing moves
Triple Olympic medalist, Santiago Lange has been on the sharp end of changes made to Olympic classes and formats Santiago Lange, a six-time Olympian and Bronze medallist in the 2004 and 2008 Olympics, won his third medal – Gold sailing in the Nacra 17 class. With that length of experience at an Olympic level, having sailed the Laser, Tornado and now Nacra 17 classes his comments on the future shape of the Olympic regatta was one of the highlights of the Medallists Media Conferences.
Posted on 25 Aug
An Q&A with Steve and Heidi Benjamin about the NYYC’s 2016 Queen’s Cup
Sail-World caught up with Steve and Heidi Benjamin to learn more about Heidi’s historic win in the NYYC’s Queen’s Cup. When it comes to U.S. Grand Prix sailing, it’s hard not to encounter the names of Steve and Heidi Benjamin. The two highly polished sailors have been successfully campaigning their series of yachts, named SPOOKIE, for years, starting first with a Carkeek 40 and progressing to their TP52. I caught up with Steve and Heidi to learn more about Heidi’s historic win in the NYYC’s Queen’s Cup
Posted on 19 Aug
Rio 2016 - Images of the penultimate race in the Finns - Scott wins
Sail-World's Richard Gladwell was on the water for the final race of the Qualifying Series of the Mens Finn Sail-World's Richard Gladwell was on the water for the final race of the Qualifying Series of the Mens Finn, in what potentially could have been Giles Scott's (GBR) Gold medal winning race. In the end, the current world champion won in style.
Posted on 15 Aug
Rio 2016 - Images from the Mens RS:X Medal Race
Sail-World's NZ Editor, Richard Gladwell, was on the water at the Medal Race for the RS:X class Sail-World's NZ Editor, Richard Gladwell, was on the water at the Medal Race for the RS:X class won before the race by Dorian van Rijsselberghe (NED) without needing points from the Medal Race. Nick Dempsey (GBR) was second on a similar basis.
Posted on 15 Aug
Rio 2016 - Sailors talk of Life at the Extreme on the Atlantic Ocean
Certainly the Volvo Ocean Race catchcry of Life at the Extreme is not a phrase associated with the Sailing Olympics. The 470 crews were suffering the mixed emotions of survival of an extreme test by nature, the cold, and for some elation at their placings, after Thursday's battle for survival. In conditions that looked more out of the Volvo Ocean Race, than an Olympic sailing regatta, crews battled 20kt plus winds and Atlantic Ocean rollers that towered up to four metres.
Posted on 13 Aug