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Larry Ellison’s Oracle Team USA America’s Cup 2013 : Emirates Team New Zealand Wins Race #11

Now Needs 1 More For The Cup – Then Race #12 Is Cancelled As Wind Rises

We had two fabulous races on Sunday, which already seems like ages ago, with both teams winning one race each, leaving the score then with Emirates Team New Zealand (TNZ) leading Oracle Team USA (Oracle) by 7-3 out on the water, not counting Oracle’s additional 2 race penalty imposed for previous rules violations.

On Tuesday we were supposed to race again, but high winds led to the day being cancelled completely just as everyone was all fired up and ready to go, and postponed until today.

Well TNZ has now won the first race today – Wednesday – putting them 8-3 ahead on the water. The second race today was just getting started, but was then cancelled and racing halted for the day, as freshening winds took us over the wind limits allowed for racing to take place. So tomorrow – Thursday – we will now have races 12 & 13 and TNZ will try and win at least one of these and take the America’s Cup. Do read on though for the full story of today’s first race, which was closely fought and a great spectacle.

15/09/2013 - San Francisco (USA CA) - 34th America's Cup -

 The Golden Gate Bridge has featured prominently in this race series….. here it looks like a “three wing” circus! / Abner Kinkman

So today there are two races on the schedule, races 11 & 12, on another day of absolutely gorgeous weather, though with changeable winds that could freshen and take us to the wind limits that govern whether sailing takes place. If TNZ should win both races today then that’s it they will have won the America’s Cup. Oracle’s task has been to continue with the technical and crewing progress they have belatedly been making to keep their defence of the Cup alive. Welcome to all our readers.

Whoever wins the race series, a big winner already is the America’s Cup itself, which has now been firmly brought into the twenty first century by Larry Ellison’s insistence on scaling up the latest in high tech foiling multihull design to the size of these giant America’s Cup racing multihulls. His team may well still end up losing the Cup, possibly even as early as today, and crunch time may be rapidly approaching. But the last few days here in San Francisco has seen some of the most exciting sailboat racing ever seen.

Yesterday Stephen Barclay who is CEO of the America’s Cup Event Authority gave his own well-formulated public vote of thanks to Oracle leader Larry Ellison on the America’s Cup official web site stating… “let me give credit where credit is due. Larry Ellison could have chosen anywhere in the world to host the racing and he chose San Francisco. He and Russell Coutts set a bold vision and delivered it. Sure, we wanted more challengers but like all America’s Cup editions, what we remember, what captures our imagination, is the Finals, the actual competition for the America’s Cupwhat we are seeing on the Bay right now.”

He also thanked the city of San Francisco saying…”Thank you San Francisco for voting with your feet in the thousands. Some 700, 000 of you so far have packed our official venues to the point of us having to halt entry. You could more than double that number if you count the unofficial sites along the waterfront, and this America’s Cup is not over yet.”

America's Cup 2013

Ocean spray not snow in San Francisco yesterday…../Gilles Martin Raget

The weather today so far looks to be just fine for sailing, with winds having so far moderated a little from yesterday, even though a strong ebb tide will flow out against the incoming winds. The forecast is for winds between 16 and 20 miles an hour, freshening later, which should permit sailing at least one race even when adjusted for the ebb tide. As the day goes on the winds will typically freshen which could put the second race at risk.

The wind limit adjusted for the counter-flowing ebb tide has now been officially set at 24 miles an hour for the first race on Wednesday and 23 miles an hour for the second race. The ebb tide does serve to open up the racecourse, however, and if the wind stays as it is now, there should be some good racing.

Oracle have spent quite some time fiddling with their boat in the last few days, too, and in a media briefing yesterday Oracle boat designer Dirk Kramer said “At the moment we look good in higher winds and maybe they look better in lower winds, but that might change in the next few days, ” though naturally he was somewhat coy as to how he would achieve that… he sounds like he could be a good candidate for the next Governor of the US Federal Reserve, managing to say absolutely nothing with great politeness.

 

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Emirates Team New Zealand polishes up the boat tog et it ready for racing – great mascot!

As part of the America’s cup party spirit Rock Band Journey, San Francisco born and bred, Monday night came home to their newest concert venue along the city’s Embarcadero.

The band played a sold-out show at America’s Cup PavilionDuring their encore, Journey dedicated their hit “Don’t Stop Believing” to Oracle, to help it mount its comeback against TNZ and try to still keep the America’s Cup for the United States.

Time to get back to the to the start of the first race, with the two boats coming out to the race course ten minutes or so before the start, warming up a bit before they will enter the pre-start box at the two minute call. 20 miles an hour wind and a 2.5 miles an hour ebb tide gong against the wind so we are close to the limit but should get some sailing in for sure, as long as it does not get worse.

 

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 The rock band Journey dedicates their hit “Don’t Stop Believing” to Oracle in San Francisco show on Monday night / Gilles Martin Raget


Three minutes to go now to the start; Dean Barker is skippering for TNZ and Jim Spithill for Oracle, with four time Olympics gold medalist Ben Ainslie as his tactician. The boats are buzzing in choppy water now entering into the box. Oracle have to deliver today or it’s game over. One minute to go as the boats head back to the start line – the trick is to get there at full speed but not to arrive early or you are screwed. 20 seconds to go before the megaphone sounds the all clear…. zero, and we are racing on San Francisco Bay as TNZ leads to the first turn after blocking Oracle as much as they could before the start. TNZ turns with Oracle three seconds behind, and off they go down wind. Lets see who is faster – and TNZ are running a larger jib. Oracle gybes over to get a better line in the wind conditions. TNZ 80 metres ahead now. Both yachts racing at 45 miles an hour right now without too much apparent effort, which is of course highly deceptive given the huge physical outputs of the entire eleven man crews of both yachts. Coming up to the second mark with just 100 metres separating them Oracle have committed to a very difficult turn in order to make a split, and they succeed picking up to just 6 seconds behind as a result.

And off they go back up the course on separate tacks – so it is harder for the leading boat TNZ to cover the one behind. As a result for a moment Oracle has got a small lead but is one tack behind so it will even it out in a moment. Lets see who blinks when they come together across the race course. Now the lead changes again, and TNZ has its nose back in front on starboard tack with right of way. Oracle goes away from them to stay clear; then both boats tacking simultaneously at 25 miles an hour in great style. The two boats approach and Oracle goes through unscathed just 70 metres behind and then moves around the back of TNZ staying out of trouble, but still behind by 100 metres; great tactical stuff here at full speed. Somebody needs to make a mistake and Oracle are hoping it will be TNZ so they can get a break and win this race! Flawless sailing by both sides so far.

 

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 70, 000 people showed up at the last race on Sunday to cheer on the two teams

Thousands of people are watching from the shore all along San Francisco Bay; what a stadium view they’ve all got. TNZ’s lead is now ground down by Oracle to just 60 metres – you can’t get much closer than this. This is better than the Oxford and Cambridge Boat Race; 20 metres apart only now, so let’s see who gets to the next mark first. A real tacking duel is going on now between two evenly matched yachts, with the wind also increasing a little. This favours the boat in front as it has the clear air.

A bad tack by Oracle slows down their turn and puts TNZ at the mark first, which means they are now likely going to win this race- they now have a a 17 second lead. Ouch! Bad execution of the last tack cost Oracle more than ten seconds… not easy to catch up now downwind at 40 miles an hour. If TNZ wins this one then they will be just one race win away from taking home the America’s Cup. Oracle slowly catching up just 150 metres apart now but it is too late unless TNZ make a mistake too at this point. Both boats have to gybe and TNZ stay able to block Oracle’s wind, but still just 85 metres in it coming up to the final mark, when the boats then reach across the wind to the finish line.

Still a race if TNZ makes a mistake at the turn which they don’t, so they now head off for the finish with a comfortable lead and no chance of another mistake. But fantastic racing… Oracle finishes 15 seconds behind. TNZ are now 8-3 in front on the water, so one more race win and the America’s Cup is theirs. If the day’s second race actually does start and finishes and TNZ win it, the streets of New Zealand will be jammed with very happy people.

The wind continues to be changeable though, though the water is choppy, and the ebb tide is very strong at 3.5 miles an hour. We could hit the wind limit and delay the start, or even now face cancellation.

 

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Alctraz looms large over everything in this race series as the two yachts attack at 70 miles an hour approach velocity

Both boats are now circling the pre-start entry box again, getting ready for the second race as they hit the five minute point before the start. Three minutes to go and this is the last shot for Oracle, but they do have the port entry into the start line which gives an advantage. Ray Davies the TNZ tactician has emerged as a star tactician, seemingly always putting them in the right place. 1 minute to go to the all clear call as Oracle has stayed on the lower line and will try and race to the start line now with 35 seconds to go. Oracle is blocking TNZ again and off they go like greyhounds… then Bummer ! the race is stopped as it has hit the wind limit !… now we wait fifteen minutes to see if the wind drops… now if they don’t start within the next three minutes the day is done and the race will be postponed until tomorrow. And that’s it! The race is cancelled and there will be no more racing today – this race will be re-started again tomorrow.

So races 12 & 13 are now the ones scheduled for Thursday, September 19th, with the first of them again kicking off at 1.15 pm Pacific time. All the details of this series can be found at the America’s Cup official web site: www.americascup.com. TNZ now need just 1 race win more to clinch the series, so Oracle dodged half a bullet today but still have plenty of hard work to do if they want to stop TNZ; it starts to look harder and harder at this point. 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 Thursday.

 

 

 

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