America’s Cup- At long last – a winner
by Bob Fisher on 26 Sep 2013
The most remarkable comeback continued on the 19th day of racing in the 34th America’s Cup – Jimmy Spithill and his crew aboard Oracle Team USA defeated Dean Barker and Emirates Team New Zealand by 44 seconds to record the eighth successive race victory for the defenders in the match and thereby retain the Cup for the Golden Gate Yacht Club.
25/09/2013 - San Francisco (USA,CA) - 34th America’s Cup - Oracle Team USA ACEA / Photo Abner Kingman © http://photo.americascup.com
No one would have given OTUSA the slightest chance when the score was 8-1 against them, but Spithill repeated told the world: 'We know we can still win this.’ It was a bold statement that became less unlikely as victory followed victory, but Spithill delivered the gospel repeatedly, even to the last when the scores were tied.
And wasn’t he correct? He and his crew had the belief in the design and engineering teams in their compound to deliver a faster and faster boat each day. That is exactly what was achieved. OTUSA was the faster boat of the two and it has always been the case in the Cup’s 162-year history that the faster boat has won. The Australia II crew, celebrating (tonight in Sydney) their historic victory 30 years ago will attest to that, and theirs previously was the greatest of all comebacks.
The final race had all the drama and excitement associated with the 34th Cup. ETNZ had the possible advantage of leading into the starting area from the port end and Barker didn’t allow ‘Pitbull’ Spithill to antagonize him and claimed the leeward berth at the starting line and held level with the defender to claim the inside berth at the first turning mark.
The whole of the Kiwi contingent in San Francisco held its concerted breath as the two boats sped down the run with ETNZ able to maintain the lead she had established, but at the leeward gate OTUSA split away, going towards the City Front while ETNZ headed towards Alcatraz. The gap between them, originally more than 200 metres, began to diminish, but at the first cross, the Kiwis on starboard tack were able to cross ahead.
At the next cross, with the Americans having the starboard tack advantage, the positions were reversed and from that moment on the superior upwind speed of Oracle Team USA began to tell, so that by the windward gate the Kiwis trailed by 36 seconds. It was all over bar the shouting. There were no significant gains or losses downwind and the fate of the 34th America’s Cup was sealed when OTUSA finished 44 seconds ahead.
Very few would have thought this result possible a week ago, but the Oracle teamwork proved the naysayers incorrect. Teamwork pays and the dividends of great teamwork are enormous. The Cup stays in America.