Published On: Sun, Sep 15th, 2013

Larry Ellison’s Oracle Team USA The Fight Continues : America’s Cup 2013 Races 9 & 10

Oracle Team USA began the long fight back yesterday with one crucial and decisive win on the race course, improving to 6-2 races Saturday behind Emirates Team New Zealand on the water, though they have in addition a previously adjudicated 2 race penalty still to count against them. Yesterday’s second race was cancelled halfway through though because of wind conditions so we are racing it again today.

And now after both today’s races Oracle have picked up one victory. Emirates Team New Zealand won one as well which leaves them in front 7-3 on the water. Read on to see how it all transpired…

Sunday September 15th, 2013

Welcome back everybody, or if you are a new reader glad you could join us for what should be some crucial sail boat racing today as Oracle Team USA (Oracle) hope to turn yesterday’s new found speed upwind into two more potentially series-saving racing victories, on what is again a beautiful sunny day in San Francisco Bay. Remember, Emirates Team New Zealand (TNZ) are presently only 3 race victories shy themselves of claiming the America’s Cup for the third time.

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Yesterday Emirates Team New Zealand nearly flipped their boat over on Saturday – but managed to contain it just in time / ​Abner Kingsman​

Wind conditions are forecast to be strengthening again today from the current variable 15-20 miles an hour, but this could push us again right up into race canceling wind levels. Depending on the ebb tide, which we also have again today and which impacts the sea state too, that means winds up around 24-25 miles an hour will be the upper permitted wind limit before, under the rules, the race must be officially cancelled – with no discretion or wiggle room.

Let’s hope the winds stay reasonable so we can hold two good races in a row without interruption this time. After checking the boat carefully after yesterday’s near-capsize TNZ are doubtless hoping to re-establish their superiority on the course, and we should be in for some fascinating and aggressive racing from both teams once they get going.

“We got about as close as you can possibly get to having the thing end up on its side, ” said TNZ skipper Dean Barker immediately after the first race yesterday, which they lost to Oracle; Barker was one of the guys who was stuck in the leeward hull looking up at the rest of the 46-foot wide catamaran as it threatened to topple over right on top of them in a capsize.

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 Another view of disaster just averted for Emirates Team New Zealand on Saturday – that is definitely going too far for comfort! / Balazs​ Gardi

“These boats demand a huge amount of respect. Everyone who has sailed one has that respect, ” Dean Barker continued yesterday. “We don’t think these boats are dangerous. You have to manage everything and be on your game. There are all sorts of examples of danger in sport. When pushing on the edge it’s going to be dangerous at times.”

“We still take a lot of positives out of today. We’re still very happy with the way the boat’s going and there are still things we can improve. We’ll be out there fighting for points tomorrow.”

Of course while he was talking in the press conference he looked still a bit in a state of shock; as he pointed out, they were actually only moments away from losing the boat completely.

14/09/2013 - San Francisco (USA,   CA) - 34th America's Cup - Final Match,    Day 5

 This is how it should be done – Oracle Team USA speeding away to victory on Saturday in the first race / ​ Martin Raget​

After coming back from the grave to win the first race on Saturday Oracle skipper Jimmy Spithill said “It’s what the team needed. I can’t tell you how hard the team around us works” … “We’ve been saying it in house that we can win races. We don’t care what the scoreline is. At some point it’s going to turn. Today was a big moment for us. We clearly made a step in the boat’s performance. It’s a big step and a key moment in the regatta.”

So now it’s Sunday as we focus again on today’s racing and the boats are out on the water 5 minutes from the 1.15 pm Pacific Time start. They begin a shadow-boxing dance of manoeuvring cautiously around each other in the pre-start imaginary “box”, hoping to get an advantage when the rush to cross the starting line begins once the count down to the start gets to zero and the “all-clear” is sounded. With the fresh winds and 3 miles an hour ebb tide, currently going against each other there is a fair sized chop on the water, which should lead to an interesting couple of races. Ben Ainslie is acting as Oracle tactician again, and right now is helping his skipper Jim Spithill get ready to pre-position the boat in the box for the start, hoping to steal a march on TNZ this time.

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The two teams battle it out at the start on Sunday / Balazs​ Gardi

Two minutes to go! Oracle are moving into the start box first for this race; now they are both there battling for the bottom of the box to try and get over the start line first towards the first mark. 17 seconds to go and Oracle are in the best position, and now we are racing as the “all clear” is sounded over the megaphone. Oracle now four boat lengths in front heading to the mark – brilliant! Oracle goes round the first mark 4 seconds in front. The down wind leg should be straightforward and the really tough part will be coming back up again. Lets see if Oracle can build up their present building, now175 metres, lead enough to survive coming back where to date they have usually been slower than TNZ.

As Oracle goes through the second mark ahead, now both teams are split for the uphill climb so they won’t be duking it out side by side, instead separating all over over the course. Let’s see if Oracle can tack well enough today to keep their lead as they sail past Alcatraz on their way back up to the golden Gate Bridge. Both teams look very comfortable so all the tribulations of the other day are behind them at this point.

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 The owner of this yacht no doubt spent millions to make it look old-fashioned – for a monohull though it is absolutely state of the art /Gilles Martin Raget​

Oracle are now 226 metres in front, have improved their tacking and are so much better than before, foiling uphill too now. This is a splendid race for them and Oracle pulls ahead by over 350 metres. This is an amazing switch from the last few days. The wind is building again so let’s hope the next race won’t get cancelled if it keeps climbing as Oracle continue to excel in this race. They now go through the third mark at the top of the course and will now fly downwind again with a big lead of 33 seconds.

At the moment unless something unforeseen happens TNZ have lost this race even though there is still some way to go. Oracle are going downhill at 40 miles an hour at the moment, flying on their foils, as they have gone up a huge vertical learning curve in all departments and especially when tacking. The on-board cameras are showing us a team that is clearly focused, relaxed and up for the battle – what a difference to the other day. There are many beautiful old fashioned sailing yachts in the entourage that is trailing after the racers, though they can’t possibly keep up. What fun! Oracle coming up to the final mark where they will turn and reach across the wind to the finish; a totally smooth manoeuvre they are now 45 seconds in front. And Oracle win the first race…. and they do it by 47 seconds! Fans are cheering loudly in support down at the San Francisco piers.

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 Team New Zealand bears down on Oracle on starboard tack on Thursday forcing a path through with their right of way / Guilain Grenier ​

TNZ skipper Dean Barker said on the America’s Cup site… “They’re going well. They’ve stepped up. We always expected they would. It’s hard racing… We didn’t get off the start line as we would have liked… We’ll look to do a much better job in the next race this afternoon.

“We felt like we were going just fine. I think they made a nice gain at the bottom gate. It was always going to be hard… they’ve found another gear in these conditions.

“We know this is going to be a battle, we’ve been saying this from the start… We know we have to keep pushing hard.”

Oracle skipper Jilly Spithill was ecstatic after the race, commenting…“What a fantastic effort by the boys. They really, really dug in. It was a physical race. Last night we tuned up the software for the pre-start and we had a great game plan for the start today. Full credit to coach Philippe Presti…”

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Plenty of support from the local sailing community for Oracle Team USA / Giuila Caponnetto​

Five minutes to the start of the second race, the wind is just over the limit at the moment, so the time for the start is re-set, the ebb current slightly less than before, and the boats are getting ready to go into the box at the two minute point once they get the all clear. This time around TNZ will get to go in to the pre-start box ten seconds ahead of Oracle, a privilege that alternates with each race and which allows the one who goes first to try to pre-position themselves for the start better sometimes. On this course the right to grab port entry to cope better with the ebb tide has been a big advantage, so they will both try to do the same again. First the wind has to drop a little for this race to take place…. the two boats are going fast across the bay in the mean time to stay active and warm… the 11 team members on each boat are all soaking wet remember.

The wind is dropping a little so we should be ready to go in a few minutes, and then hope the racers get around the course before the wind goes back up again; 8 minutes to go with the new timing. These wind limits are to prevent these highly stressed speed machines from simply going too fast, as theoretically they can foil at three times the wind speed without difficulty, creating their own apparent wind as they power up. Nobody yet knows either how fast they can safely go at the absolute limit and it may be better if we don’t really find out… 4 minutes to the revised start.

TNZ now going into the box at the two minute point followed by Oracle. Let the fight begin… 1 minute to go as the boats manoeuvre to avoid going over the line too soon. At 30 seconds Oracle are accelerating to push TNZ out of the box – and it is working, but TNZ scramble back inside. Oracle accelerates away from the Kiwis but doesn’t get to the mark without an overlap and lose the right of way going round the first mark as TNZ pulls in front by 150 metres. No penalty. Now they both head down wind towards the city. Great tactical sailing by both teams with TNZ just getting the edge.

Now lets see who has got the faster boat; TNZ are still up by 125 metres and the goal of the Oracle boat is to make sure they get a split at the bottom mark so they can tack upwind in clear water and not be pushed around tactically by their opponent. TNZ get to the mark first and elect to go for the shore side so Oracle heads out towards Alcatraz going upwind.

Oracle now have done some catching up, to 140 metres behind, now pick up a bit more and are 130 metres behind at the half way point of the race. No-one knows who is going to win this race yet… it is wide open as Oracle is creeping back up towards their opponent. The whole series is still stacked in YNZ’s favour, because of their six wins under their belt already, but Oracle are putting up a big fight today and deserve a reward.

The boats cross just 88 metres between them and counting… now Oracle are only 60 metres behind as they continue to execute impeccable tacks, so unlike their previous races. Now only 20 metres between them and TNZ are in trouble as the boats come together with Oracle holding right of way coming together at a 70 miles an hour approach velocity! Incredible stuff now, match racing like no-one has ever seen before and Oracle have a nose in front. They cross again and this time TNZ gets a nose ahead.

Both boats neck and neck in a match race on steroids heading into mark number 3. Lets see who gets there first… and Oracle are through ahead by a nose at the mark as they turn downwind again for the final run back to downtown San Francisco.

14/09/2013 - San Francisco (USA,   CA) - 34th America's Cup - Final Match,    Day 5

Just a little bit wet as they crash the hull down onto the wate

Now the boats approach again – this time at a 90 miles an hour approach velocity. Rather than follow their gybe Oracle slows down to let TNZ through, giving 100 metres back to them and TNZ may now be well set to win this race, though Oracle will still have right of way at the next gybe.

TNZ keeps it togetther though, and are still ahead by 100 metres as they go through the final mark 10 seconds ahead of the Americans on the way to the finish… TNZ win the race.

So splendid racing today, with one magnificent victory for Oracle and one for Emirates Team New Zealand. Now they trail TNZ by just 7 races to 3 out on the water, not counting the additional 2 race penalty they still have for rules violations last year. Both teams will now knuckle down before the next races on Tuesday to see if they can fine tune their boats to get some more speed. However, TNZ are now only 2 races away from winning the series so it is getting closer and could be all over on Tuesday.

Races 11 & 12 are scheduled for Tuesday, September 17th, with the first of them again kicking off at 1.15 pm Pacific time. The daily schedule for the remainder of the series can be viewed at The America’s Cup official web site: www.americascup.com. So Oracle missed half a bullet today but still have plenty of hard work to do if they want to stop TNZ. Jewish Business News will continue to cover the racing as it happens with prompt race reporting, so please come and join us here again on Tuesday.

 

 

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