Please select your home edition
Edition
C-Tech

Gladwell's Line- A Crucial Race

by . on 17 Sep 2013
Oracle Team USA puts on a show her fans at the end of Race 9 Richard Gladwell www.photosport.co.nz
The final race for today was a break-point for the 34th America’s Cup.

Had Oracle Team USA been able to pull off a second victory for the day, giving herself a hat-trick of wins from the past two days – then she would have gone into the one-day break feeling very satisfied.

The Defender would have knocked a huge hole in the Kiwi machine, which looked unstoppable at the start of the Regatta.

For New Zealand the point was crucial – leaving the Challenger with just two more to score to win the America’s Cup for a third time.

With so much hanging on the win, it was fitting that it was a closely fought affair – and a match racing spectacle the likes of which had never been seen before.

The highpoint of the race came as the two AC72’s neared the windward mark and it became clear that Oracle Team USA had bitten a massive chunk out of the New Zealander’s lead, and in fact the lead swapped several times.

But in a brilliant piece of sailing strategy, Emirates Team New Zealand spent some of their lead on the windward leg to buy a big advantage heading down the final run, on Leg 4.

Their investment paid a huge dividend, as they were able to round the northern Mark 3, and emerge from the rounding at a faster pace and sailing on starboard, with the right of way at the next encounter.

That came a few hundred metres down the run as Oracle Team USA came across on port, and had the choice of gybing and going with the flying Kiwis, or crossing astern and then having the starboard advantage at the next cross.

They elected to take the latter option, slowing the boat to allow the New Zealanders through. But applying the brakes on a speeding AC72 has not really been done before – and too much speed was dropped off, allowing the New Zealanders to quickly grab a bigger lead, which they held to the end of the exciting race.

There is no doubt that the Oracle Team USA afterguard is a much better unit with the addition of Ben Ainslie. The team has also been able to use the time they bought by playing their Lay Day card, after a thumping from the New Zealanders, when they notched their sixth win. Oracle have been able to bolster their weak points to the extent that there is not a lot between the boats in terms of basic speed.

One gets the impression that the New Zealanders still have the upper hand in terms of time on the water. And the thinking on board the Kiwi boat is generally better than that of the Defender.

But in the past two days New Zealand has been put under real pressure, sometimes they have been able to come up with the answers, sometimes not.

In the first two wins scored by Oracle Team USA, the Challengers pointed out that the first was the result of two muffed tacks by the Challenger, and the second was the same – when the AC72 almost capsized in a tack.


But there was no such excuse in Oracle Team USA’s Race 9 win – which came from being able to exploit their port entry right to the starting box, defending the eastern side of the box, and using the ebb (outgoing) tide to push up against the Challenger. Spithill pulled a masterful tactic at the start of luffing after the starting signal, causing Barker to drop speed, then Spithill picked his moment to accelerate and build a lead at the first mark which he was able to extend to 800 metres over the rest of the race.

The change in tide has certainly worked Oracle Team USA’s way, allowing her more time to plan her moves, using the full width of the race area, instead of being pinned into sailing in a smaller area of water to avoid adverse tide.

That allows her to tack in her own time, and we are not seeing the same damage that Emirates Team NZ was able to inflict in a tight tacking situation, and using her self-tacking jib to maximum effect.

Once again, as we saw at the top mark this afternoon, Emirates Team NZ does seem to enjoy a small advantage in tight combat – possibly because tactician Ray Davies can have his head up – without grinding duties – and has those few seconds to think of the longer term plays.


Certainly Ray Davies’ calls have been a feature of the regatta, and may well prove to be the winning of it.

After today, Emirates Team NZ needs two wins to take the Regatta. Oracle requires another eight – which looks to be a difficult task in boats that are evenly matched.

For sure this has been a Match Racing regatta like the sailing world has never before seen – and may never do so again.

And for many the sheer spectacle of seeing two AC72’s foiling downwind in white water is more memorable than the actual outcome of the Match itself.

There is no doubt that this regatta has delivered some brilliant and sublime racing – that can only be marveled, and appreciated by all who follow our great sport.

While Larry Ellison was on the water to enjoy his team's success in the first race of the day. He must have also taken a special pleasure in knowing that his dream of which he spoke of so eloquently back in 2010 had come true - and made such a massive impact on sailing - which will never be the same again.









KZRaceFurlersC-Tech Emirates TNZInsun - AC Program

Related Articles

America's Cup - Dalton opens up on boat and options for next Cup
The Protocol for the 36th America's Cup will take place in Auckland on the morning of the 29th September Italian media are reporting that the announcement of the Protocol for the 36th America's Cup will take place in Auckland on the morning of the 29th September. Dalton confirmed the details of the yacht will be revealed two months later on November 30, but would not say if it will be a foiling monohull as speculated in the media.
Posted on 18 Sep
An interview with Rainer Muller about the International 6 Metre Worlds
I interviewed Rainer Muller, vice chair of the International 6 Metre Class Worlds, via email, to learn more. The 2017 International 6 Metre Class World Championships are set to unfurl off of Vancouver, Canada, from September 17-21 and will be hosted by the Royal Vancouver Yacht Club, so I caught up with event vice-chair Rainer Muller, via email, to learn more about this exciting biennial regatta that’s expected to draw 45-50 boats from eleven different nations.
Posted on 18 Sep
An interview with Shelia Graves about the IHYC's Classic Yacht Regatta
I interviewed Sheila Graves, co-chair of IHYC’s Classic Yacht Regatta, via email, to learn more about this upcoming even Indian Harbor Yacht Club’s eighth-annual Classic Yacht Regatta is set to unfurl the weekend of September 15 and 16, so I caught up with Sheila Graves, event co-chair (and a former winning sailor), via email, to learn more about this now-classic New England event.
Posted on 13 Sep
An interview with Katie Coleman Nicoll about the 2017 J/24 Worlds
I interviewed Katie Coleman Nicoll of the 2017 J/24 World’s organizing committee to learn more about this great event. This year’s J/24 Worlds will unfurl from September 15-23, 2017 on the waters of Canada’s Lake Ontario and will be hosted by the Port Credit Yacht Club on the lake’s northwestern shores. I interviewed Katie Coleman Nicoll, secretary/treasurer of the Canadian J/24 class and a member of the 2017 J/24 World Championship’s organizing committee, via email, to learn more about this exciting event.
Posted on 11 Sep
Pulling G’s with Beneteau – Pt II
Just a little while ago we pulled some Gs with Beneteau’s Mr Product, aka G3. Just a little while ago we pulled some Gs with Beneteau’s Mr Product, aka G3. You can go back and read Part One of the story of Gianguido Girotti, as and when you may like. However, for now we’ll push on with the incredible semi-foiler Figaro 3, and the new Oceanis 51.1, along with what they represent for the brand as a whole. It is a very interesting tale, especially as Beneteau...
Posted on 31 Aug
A conversation with Jay Keeshan about the SYC's 2017 Vineyard Race
I caught up with Jay Keeshan, vice chair for the 2017 Vineyard Race, via email, to learn more about this classic race. This year’s Vineyard Race is set to unfurl on Friday, September 1, and will likely take most boats between one and three days to complete, conditions and vessels depending, of course. I caught up with Jay Keeshan, vice chairman for the 2017 Vineyard Race, via email, to learn more about this classic New England distance contest.
Posted on 28 Aug
JATO ignited as SuperFoiler prepares for take off (Pt II)
When we left SuperFoiler last time, the JATO rockets had been lit, and we were rapidly approaching the time for rotation When we left SuperFoiler last time, the JATO rockets had been lit, and we were rapidly approaching the time for rotation (lift off). You can catch up with Part One of SuperFoiler and the JATO rockets, but for now we get to talk speed, the crew on board, and finally the commercialisation of it all. Buckle up!
Posted on 28 Aug
Pulling G’s with Beneteau – Pt I
In a car, just the one G will have you straining at your seatbelt. In a car, just the one G will have you straining at your seatbelt. Over nine (+ve) in an aircraft, and without a G-suit, you will be unconscious. So at three G’s, and pulling no punches with them either, we not only enjoyed our opportunity to sit with Gianguido Girotti (G3), we got to learn a lot as well!
Posted on 23 Aug
JATO ignited as SuperFoiler prepares for take off (Pt I)
When small military transports have to take off from impossibly short runways with a belly full of cargo When small military transports have to take off from impossibly short runways with a belly full of cargo akin to Mr. Creosote, they reach for the JATO bottles. Aircraft like C-7 Caribous and LC130 Hercules strap rockets, yes rockets, to the underside of their wings to gain valuable extra thrust, which surely helps keep the pilots' heart rates below the red line.
Posted on 22 Aug
Discussing the Storm Trysail Club’s Ted Hood Regatta with Clarke Smith
I chatted with Clarke Smith, chairman for the 2017 Ted Hood Regatta, via email, to learn more about this exciting event. Given the late, great Ted Hood’s sterling reputation as both a sailor and innovator, it makes a lot of sense that the Storm Trysail Club’s Marblehead Station would create their inaugural Ted Hood Regatta (August 25-27), which will be held on the waters off of Marblehead, Massachusetts, in his honor. I corresponded with Clarke Smith, chairman for the 2017 Ted Hood Regatta, via email, to learn more.
Posted on 21 Aug