America's Cup Race 6 - Oracle is better but …
by Sail-World.com on 13 Sep 2013
In the 34th America's Cup, Ben Ainslie, four times Olympic Gold Medallist and Oracle Team USA B team helmsman replaced San Francisco local John Kostecki.
12/09/2013 - San Francisco (USA,CA) - 34th America’s Cup - ORACLE Team USA vs Emirates Team New Zealand, Race Day 4 ACEA - Photo Gilles Martin-Raget © http://photo.americascup.com/
A more even tide today across the course, with less breeze than in recent days.
Oracle first into the box, Emirates Team New Zealand followed.
Clear start win to Oracle, the Kiwis could only follow round the first mark, nine seconds later.
An ordinary gybe from the American team and much of their lead vanished.
Oracle held the lead. Good communication between Ainslie and strategist Tom Slingsby at the back of the boat.
A good cross for Oracle, three lengths to the good of ETNZ, Oracle led by 12 seconds.
Ray Davies, the ETNZ tactician called for an extra gybe to set up for a split from the bottom mark.
And so it was. The boats were on split tacks, this is the leg that cost Oracle races. This was the critical leg of the race and probably of the 34th America’s Cup.
On the cross Oracle ducked behind ETNZ but Oracle was out of the current and they got the lead back.
Slingsby was noticeably more vocal than when he was sailing with Kostecki.
The Kiwis dialled down hard to force the Americans to duck hard on the next cross.
Emirates Team New Zealand was now leading and was starting to stretch their lead.
They kept pushing the Oracle boat into tack after tack, with the Kiwis gaining on every tack.
After nine tacks, the New Zealanders had gone from a three length deficit to five length lead.
No tactical mistakes on the following boat, the Kiwis have a better upwind boat.
A dispiriting 44 second gap between the two boats.
In the light conditions, 10-11 knots, the lead just kept extending, it was now 400 metres for Emirates Team New Zealand as they headed for the fourth mark and the short blast reach to finish.
A fifth win for the Kiwis with a delta of 47 seconds.
So the Kostecki-Ainslie change meant no tactical blunders but right now the Oracle Team USA boat needs a turbo-charger.
Ray Davies, 'we were out on our time on distance and handed them the start. We got the spit at the bottom of the course and we kept gaining on all the tacks.'
Jimmy Spithill, 'we can’t change the last race, all we can do is find a win in race 7.'
And winning they will have to do, the Kiwis are now just four wins from victory in the 34th America’s Cup.
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