America’s Cup 2013 : Larry Ellison’s Oracle Team USA Win Both Races 14 & 15 And Now Are Only Behind 8-7 On The Water Against Emirates Team New Zealand : We Race Again Tomorrow
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Emirates Tam New Zealand and Oracle Team USA cross in light winds/ Gillis Martin Raget
The last race actually run before today was on Friday, when America’s Cup defender Oracle Team USA (Oracle) kept the series alive as they prevailed in the only race of the day to be officially completed, running a superb tactical race at all points to come home the winner by a large margin.
On Saturday the teams came out to fight again, but in the face of a huge rainstorm in San Francisco, plus a big wind shift that ruined the lay-out of the race course for fair racing, all racing was cancelled after several suspense-building and nail-biting delays.
Coming now into Sunday the challenger Emirates Team New Zealand (TNZ) returned to the race course again needing just one more win to take home the America’s Cup to New Zealand. After some early fog dissipated the weather was fine, winds were in the right direction and wind speed within the sailing range for these big foiling catamarans, everything was set for some great sailing.
Once the race finally started however, Oracle came out slugging aggressively from the get go in both races, defied the odds and won both races. This means they are now down only 8-7 on the race course, though separately there is also a 2 race penalty against them imposed for pre-season rules violations.
Read the full story blow by blow to see what actually happened in today’s racing, and how it all came down as it was an exciting and, for TNZ, hugely frustrating, day. Racing resumes again tomorrow when they can try to close it out again. Oracle though clearly have other ideas in mind despite still being on the edge of a defeat.
Race Report : Race 14
Fly baby fly and take me to the sky…./ ACEA – Ricardo Pinto
When Oracle brought home the winning boat on Friday, which already seems like aeons ago, at the second time of asking in the 13th race, Oracle skipper Jimmy Spithill said afterwards:
“It was a great bounce-back from the guys. We learned a lot in that first race and applied it to the second”…“Where we are now, we truly believe we’ve got the boat to win, we’ve got the tools, and the guys are doing a fantastic job on-board.”
For TNZ Friday was the opposite problem to deal with having held a huge, series winning, lead in the initial race that was, in the end, taken away from them after the official 40 minute individual race time limit was breached.
“It was disappointing to be that close yet so far away, ” said Emirates Team New Zealand skipper Dean Barker. “Sometimes it’s just not meant to be. The guys are very positive. We know we can win, we just have to put it together on the day.”
Both teams were hugely pumped up to succeed again when they came out again to race on Saturday, until the weather refused to cooperate and the day was a washout. The two skippers are nothing if not super-cool under the greatest of pressure, however, so they all simply went back to work training and now it is Sunday, and they are both ready for the potential final showdown that the two teams have been preparing for, and which could occur in either of the two races 14 or 15 scheduled for today.
Shall we “zig” or shall we “zag” today gentlemen? Both yachts are foiling with barely a breeze on Friday / Gillis Martin Raget
And it is a great day again for sailing in San Francisco with, we are told, just the right amount of fresh winds, about 15 miles an hour, coming from just the right direction, south west or about 240 degrees, to fit the race course well and give both boats a fair crack at winning a close fought race.
Some thick fog is rolling in too, but it won’t stop the sailing though it may make it harder for the tacticians to read the wind on the water. It may also interfere with some of the helicopter cameras that have been giving us such wonderful live video footage.
There is also a flood tide instead of the ebb tides of the last few races; this will affect the teams’ tactics especially at the start.
At the Race Director’s press briefing earlier today there was also a certain amount of levity when Iain Murray, not entirely tongue in cheek, mentioned they might have to postpone a race if they found a whale in San Francisco Bay. That would certainly be a first for the America’s Cup. “Whales have been on our radar since we got here, ” he said. “If a whale enters the course area we are obliged to deal with it.” What is the motto of the boy scouts; be prepared…..
Now it is fifteen minutes to the start and there are no whales….. looks like it’s a go! The race committee are setting up for the start…
This is what they were fighting for – the America’s Cup
The two boats are now entering the pre-start box at the two minute signal and will manoeuvre warily around each other, seeking an advantage for when the all clear is called at the end of the count down to zero…..
One minute to the all clear and the two boats are a little close to the line still with 30 seconds so they slowed down and are now speeding up again…ten seconds to the line and they are both looking good with Oracle below TNZ reaching over to the mark.
Oracle are pushing the Kiwis off course before they will peel off and head to the line at speed… perfect!
Both boats are through the mark with Oracle 6 seconds in front downwind; who will make the better gybes? Can Oracle keep blocking TNZ? Whose is the faster boat. We are about to find out folks. This is sudden death racing for Oracle who have to win every single race to survive in this series.
Oracle now 100 metres in front as they both gybe again with Oracle still shading TNZ for speed and build it up to 150 metres in just a few seconds. Good job so far…
A third gybe for both boats now, all so far executed smoothly by both teams – very different to the start to this series when Oracle couldn’t get it right at all. Oracle now 190 metres ahead and their VMG – velocity made good towards the point at which you are aiming- is doing well. VMG is a vector of your boat speed and the direction in which the boat is actually headed as it combines to affect the ultimate direction you actually want to end up at.
Larry Ellison congratulates the Oracle sailors last week after they won the race on Friday to keep the series alive. Today he was even happier…/Guilain Grenier
Oracle now over 300 metres in front slowly putting down the hammer as they go around the second mark and head out seaward towards Alcatraz Island. TNZ head for the shore route instead a long way behind now. Now TNZ have joined them over towards Alcatraz as well. Both boats going about 20 miles an hour going upwind, now around 140 metres apart as the wind has lightened on the upper end of the course and Oracle slowed down first. Neither boat is foiling upwind in these conditions at the moment and the two are tacking very close as they cross just 40 metres apart – amazing! And TNZ will next have starboard tack advantage too on the next cross.
Both boats now hugging the shore front for the best wind as best they can, Oracle 100 metres in front. Now the upper mark comes into view again and Oracle needs to get around first to control the race going back downwind again. Big tussle and noone is giving up an inch. oracle will get some fresh wind coming in first to take them around the mark.. a bit of luck for them though we make our own luck don’t we?
Oracle now tacks again to take them to the third mark, with just one extra tack to allow them to go back offshore after going around the mark, and they are around with the Kiwis coming fast as well. So where are we now? Oracle executed the tactic well, and it has paid off to a 300 metre lead again as they run downhill to the final mark. But one mistake from Oracle and it is a boat race again with the boats just 100 metres apart again. Wow! But Oracle speeds up again and TNZ now slows down; must be very difficult conditions out there – it is certainly agonizing to watch just as a spectator and neither boat can stay up on their foils for very long te wind is so light and puffy. Oracle are now 260 metres in front again – go figure. Basically both boats are coming close to a standstill at times when they tack, which is a typical catamaran complaint in light winds.
Oracle now heads for the last mark up on their foils at last and they will fly at nearly 40 miles an hour to take them home with a 20 second lead at the mark. And Oracle win the first race of today – now its back to 8-6 on the water for TNZ!
Another era but something of great beauty and sometimes just as exciting when the wind gets up /Abner Kingman
So this race series is not over yet, and Jimmy Spithill’s mantra of taking it one race at a time is helping Oracle deliver the goods. There will be a second race today as the conditions are fine and the time is fine and the boats are fine. And the score now is getting closer, to 8-6 in favour of TNZ out on the water, ignoring the 2 race pre-season penalty imposed on Oracle for rules violations.
Race Report : Race 15
So this is a huge test of resolve and mental attitude for both teams, and they are both delivering big time. Again, TNZ still need just one more win to take home the Cup.
Now its two minutes to the start again with an 18 mile an hour wind and the fog has dissipated. The flood tide is finished and maybe a bit of ebb tide will commence soon but not really a large factor yet.
The two boats enter the pre-start box, and they each cagily prepare to make a run for the line aiming to cross just after (and certainly not before) the all clear is sounded as the count-down hits zero.. and we are racing again!
Oracle tacked in front of TNZ in the box and filed a protest but now with 40 seconds to the all clear they don’t want to go too fast; now 20 seconds so they both accelerate again and who will make it first? Oracle noses ahead and makes it to the mark 3 seconds in front.
And off they go downwind and plenty enough wind to foil much of the time. Kiwis now gybe first but Oracle happy to keep going till they find the breeze where they want it to gybe “in style” across the course. Oracle now 400 metres in front but the wind is a bit stronger than in the last race so they should be better able to keep it. As we say that TNZ comes down off their foils. Oracle though now 700 metres ahead as they found some wind – they are doing a great tactical job and finding the wind where they need it. It will be hard to keep it so big though going back up wind
Rounding the corner side by side – the yellow on the mark adds a dash of much-needeed colour to the quite sinister red and black of both boats /Gillis Martin Raget
That was a quick leg for Oracle who go around and head to Alcatraz with a one minute lead by the time the Kiwis make the mark. Lets see how the tacking battle turns out, as Oracle still cannot afford a mistake now only 440 metres ahead.
Grinding their way half way up the course Oracle are still over 260 metres ahead; if they make it to the mark first they will have the advantage flying back downwind again to the final mark just like the last race.
Oracle driving upwind at 37 miles an hour now foiling upwind superbly and opening up the gap. They are really sailing beautifully and all that on the job training the last few days has been paying off in spades. TNZ still have a hull in the water so have more drag and are going more slowly. Oracle tacks to come through the mark ahead and will go downwind close to the shore. TNZ comes through the third mark 32 seconds behind – much better than the last mark but still a long way. Downwind is a different story though today as we have seen.
The wind speed has picked up to to 22 miles an hour which will also help Oracle bring the boat home, with both boats sailing now at 44 miles an hour – twice the wind speed. But Oracle still over 470 metres in front. Bad gybe from Oracle though brings the lead down to 150 metres again in very light winds and it is a boat race again! Ooracle covering so should still stay in front with no more mistakes, and the lead is back up there again as it is the Kiwis turn to find some bad wind; now its 400 metres apart again and 30 seconds on the clock between them.
Oracle win the second of today’s races by 37 seconds and they have closed the gap to only 8-7 down to TNZ on the water! What a wonderful day of racing.
Oracle’s fans cheer their team as they came in to dock after winning on Friday – they are cheering again today too /Balazs Gardi
So we race again tomorrow, Monday September 23rd sailing races 16 & 17 with the first race scheduled for 1.15 pm Pacific Time. The forecast is for good weather and for steady winds in the right direction for good sailing on this coast hugging race course where tens of thousands of people have been lining the shores to watch each of the races. Now its getting to be so close those crowds are going to increase substantially I should think.
You can find the schedule and lots more on the official America’s Cup web site www.americascup.com, and we will certainly on the job Monday to cover what happens so please come back and join us.
A great vantage point to watch the racing – lets hope the trolly driver concentrates on the road though….