America's Cup: San Francisco, USA
34th Defense, September 2013


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Challenger and Defender.  It was all that and more. Click image to view large and see additional photos. Photo:©2013 Jan Pehrson

America's Cup 2013 Match

34th Defense of the America's Cup
Challenger (NZL) vs. Defender (USA)
Emirates Team New Zealand vs. Oracle Team USA

First to 9 points wins the America's Cup
Races 1-2 | Races 3-4 | Race 5 | Races 6-7
Race 8 | Races 9-10 | Race 11 | Race 12 | Race 13 | Races 14 and 15 | Race 16 | Races 17 and 18

Final Race: Race 19: Oracle Team USA and Golden Gate YC win Race 19 by 44 seconds. 

USA defends the America's Cup!

Race Results | See Full Schedule
Analysis of Race Data: Compare boatspeed, VMG, tacking, leads, gains, and more at: CupStats

Where to Watch: Live in USA on NBCSN.
For Television Broadcasts and Internet details:
See TV Schedule and broadcasters
Replays and Highlights Online:
Go to America's Cup YouTube Channel

America's Cup Format:

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Match Results:
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Race Area:
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Wednesday, September 25 yyyyy Race 19

 


Oracle Team USA defends the America's Cup.  Image:©2013 ACEA/Photo: Ricardo Pinto
Oracle Team USA defends the America's Cup. Image:©2013 ACEA/Photo: Ricardo Pinto
 

America's Cup: Wednesday, Sept 25
Day 15: Final Race 19

Larry Ellison and Dean Barker as the two teams shake hands following the Match.  Ellison, Spithill, and Oracle crew had the highest praise for the skill and toughness of their opponent.  Photo:©2013 ACEA/Ricardo Pinto.

Wednesday's Program:
1 Match Race, Race 19.
Challenger vs. Defender: Deciding Race
Emirates Team New Zealand vs. Oracle Team USA
Series is tied at 8-8, first to 9 points wins the America's Cup. Start time 1:15pm PDT.  ETNZ has Port Tack entry into starting box, entering 2 minutes and 10 seconds before the gun.  Oracle Team USA enters on starboard at 2 minutes even.

Conditions:
Forecast for winds 20-25 knots, higher than Tuesday.  Low Tide 10:08-10:26am, High Tide 4:04-4:18pm, Slack water 10:59am, Max Flood 2:04pm, times approximate and varying across the course.  Flood current for racing.  Wind limit is 24.4 knots (23-knot nominal limit plus 1.4 knots of flood current). 

Regatta Director Iain Murray expects that even with the higher winds forecast, that there will be a window for racing today.  Once a boat reaches Mark 3, completing the upwind leg, the race cannot be abandoned for winds breaching the safety limits.

Watch:
USA: Live television broadcast on NBCSN at 4:00pm ET/1:00pm PT.  No live YouTube in USA during racing.  For more details, international coverage, and other options see: How to Watch

Also:
Check live wind and race data: VirtualEye Live Stats
Official Race Chatter and updates: @AmericasCupLive

Final Race 19:
Start on time at 2:15.  ETNZ into the start box.  Oracle Team USA enters slightly late.  ETNZ goes deep into the box.  Both come back, nearly simple time and distance starting strategy, very little engagement, just a few testing moves.  Clean start, Oracle to weather, ENTZ to leeward.  Drag race to Mark 1, they are neck and neck.  Just short of the mark Oracle falls off her foils.  ETNZ will round first.  Delta at Mark 1 is 6 seconds.

Onto Leg 2, ETNZ just leading.  Oracle 35m behind, trying to roll up on ETNZ.  All the way down to the offshore boundary they sail, gybing together.  Lead is about 1 length with Oracle directly astern of ENTZ now.  40 knots on starboard tack.  Getting ready for the downwind gate. Both into the gate, ETNZ turns left, Oracle Team USA turns right.  Delta was 3 seconds.  Utterly flying.

Upwind, slight lead for USA as ETNZ tacks also to starboard.  Lead out to 70m, then Oracle Team USA tacks.  Cross comes with ETNZ on starboard and right of way, Oracle has to duck, lead back to NZL.  66m.  ETNZ out to the shoreside boundary.  They tack.  Both on starboard, lead nearly even.  Oracle tacks, cross coming now with Oracle on starboard.  ETNZ goes behind them, no need to dip.  Can NZ gain on the right?  Oracle tacks near the shore.  ETNZ tacks to starboard, cross coming.  Very close.  Oracle is just ahead and can make it.  NZL to the shore and tacks.  Oracle doesn't go too far, and comes back again, covering, still ahead.  USA ahead 120m at the cross.  ETNZ has to hang in with them.  Winds have been 17-20 knots.  After the next Mark wind limits cannot abandon the race.

ETNZ coming back to the middle, but is still trailing.  Oracle Team USA is opening up a small lead, similar pattern to Race 18.  They tack back from the middle to cover.  ETNZ steaming up on port.  A few more tacks before the upwind gate.  Still trading tacks.  250-260m lead.  Oracle heading out to the right on port, ETNZ makes last tack on the boundary, come up the top of the leg on port, too.  Both about to set up for a rounding.  Lead out to 300m.  Oracle Team USA foiling upwind.  Saving tacks in the rounding will be key.  A lot of wind for the mark rounding, too.

Oracle Team USA tacks on the port layline, can lay the mark, looks to turn right.  ETNZ might need another tack.  Oracle rounds, turning right.  ETNZ manages to point and lay the mark.  USA is off and running, ETNZ rounds to the left.  Delta at Mark 3 is 26 seconds.

On the final downwind the lead is 500m to Oracle Team USA.  Slow gybe very close to the boundary for ETNZ.  Race is now on Leg 4, it will go into the book, no abandonment.  Lead is 600m.  Halfway down the leg, lead isn't shrinking.  700m plus for Oracle Team USA.  Oracle's wind drops a bit, ETNZ closes slightly, but not enough.  The race track is getting very very short.  Oracle now on port gybe will need one gybe to starboard for rounding the final mark.

Golden Gate Yacht Club and Oracle Team USA have Defended the America's Cup!

USA wins Race 19 by 44 seconds.
See Complete race timing at LiveStats

Golden Gate YC defends the America's Cup by a score of 9-8 (in points), winning 11 races in the match to Team New Zealand's 8 races.  Celebration already taking place on the water, trophy ceremony coming up within the hour.

Congratulations to Oracle Team USA and Golden Gate Yacht Club, Winners of the 34th America's Cup!
Thank you to Artemis Racing, Luna Rossa, and Emirates Team New Zealand for enormous sporting efforts and incredible sailing.


Aftermath:

From Stuart Walker at The Independent: "There have been several races going on.  One was on the San Francisco Bay track.  One was in the design offices. The third is the management game, without which no America's Cup team will be successful. Both teams were in the lead in all three at one time or another but the Americans were in the lead when it mattered, at the finish." Read More

More Post-Match Stories:
Oracle Completes Voyage to History: NY Times

"Team New Zealand Have Made Us Proud": NZ Herald

"Team New Zealand did such a bloody good job that I'm sure the whole world feels for them": Reuters

How Oracle Did It: Wall Street Journal

A Gripping Spectacle: Reuters

A Big Win: Kimball Livingston

Bob Fisher "Let It Be": Yachts&Yachting

SFGate: Host Again? | Thousands Line Waterfront

ETNZ's Future: Washington Post

At the Golden Gate YC: NY Times

Quotes of the Final Day:

Ray Davies, Tactician, ETNZ: "They had to sail well to beat us today, and they did. ...We feel like it's been a tough regatta.  We were going well.  We were getting all we could out of the boat.  We had it optimized at the beginning of the regatta.  We couldn't do much more with it, we were really happy with the boat and equipment we had.  The Oracle boys just found another couple of gears through the regatta.  Hats off to them, they did a fantastic job.  We've had incredible support network within the team.  The guys have really really worked hard the whole way through.  Everybody's really proud to be part of the team and the effort that's gone in."

Dean Barker, Skipper, Emirates Team New Zealand: "We went out there today to give it our absolute best shot, and we felt we didn't leave anything on the table.  We got a good start, led around Mark 1, led at the bottom, and that's all we could ask for.  We knew that upwind we had a fight on our hands.  When they are sailing a boat that's going that fast, it's very hard to swallow."

Dean Barker: "I am incredibly proud of our team and what we've achieved.  I'm gutted that we didn't get the last win that we need to bring this cup back to New Zealand."

Matteo de Nora, Emirates Team New Zealand: "I've never been more proud to be part of this team, and I've never felt more Kiwi than I feel today."

Jimmy Spithill, Skipper, Oracle Team USA, about his competition ETNZ: "Man, they are a tough team, they are a champion team."

Recommended Post-race press conferences with both teams on America's Cup YouTube Channel

Race Day Preview:
The America's Cup is on the line today, up for grabs to the first boat that can get around the five-leg course on San Francisco Bay and cross the finish line at the end of Piers 27-29.  That should take less than 25 minutes from the 1:15 pm start.  A little after 2:30 the silver trophy won by the yacht America that August day in 1851 will be hoisted in the California sun, dripping with champagne.

Both Emirates Team New Zealand and Oracle Team USA have roundly earned respect for the fight it took to get here, in the racing since September 7, of course, and the ceaseless slog that started back in 2010 to design, build, and learn to control these tremendous boats.  There will be a lot of celebration for the winners, and plans for Cups to come, but it's going to be hard on the losing side whichever that may be. 

Oracle skipper Jimmy Spithill spoke of a comeback when he was down 7 races, and delivered it.  He leads a team that had not just every tangible resource imaginable, and had enormous talent, too, but just couldn't get ahead, stay ahead, and win.  Their resurrection is a heartening rebuke to those who were so ready to dismiss them over a few fractions of boatspeed here and there.  Will what they've accomplished matter, will that be remembered or forgotten if they lose?

On the other side, Dean Barker has been here before, in 2003 as the defender, facing a tough team backed by Russell Coutts, his mentor and teammate in the 2000 America's Cup.  Team New Zealand in 2003 went from invincible to a frustrating second place, plagued by breakdowns, losing the Cup in circumstances that still irritate, their trophy taken away by the very same people who not long before had won it for New Zealand in a flourish of national pride.  Barker and leader Grant Dalton are here with their team after an almost non-stop ten-year crusade to reverse that slight, which also included the America's Cup Final in 2007, with TNZ as the 2007 challenger facing a billionaire-backed defender that proved to be slightly faster.  They have worked incredibly hard to be here, and looked all but flawless until 7 races ago, with the Auld Mug one win away from being theirs.  They are so close. What will change if they don't get that one race they have needed for so long?  Will they ever get this chance again?

What it will really mean in the big picture if Oracle defends the Cup or not is hard to say.  Will the perception be that it's too hard to beat Larry Ellison's team, discouraging potential challengers?  Or like the NYYC's 132-year winning streak, will a Golden Gate YC win make more compelling the obsession to wrest it away?  If New Zealand wins, does the prospect of a wide-open playing field draw new challengers and sponsors out of the woodwork? Or is it back to square one on securing funding while the nature of the regatta is reinvented once again with different format, rules, yachts, and accessibility?  Both sides may have plans, but until they win, everything is just an idea.

The yacht racing has been exciting, close, tactical, and often epic.  The America's Cup Match today is on the front page of newspapers across the globe, every possible measure of online activity is at levels the sport has never seen.  It's hard to imagine the tension that a final and deciding America's Cup race will hold today, and the millions of people that can and will be following it live. 

Leaving whatever politics aside, if that's even possible, just the pure sporting occasion is off the charts.  A seven-win streak for a comeback?  Versus ten-years of dedication just to get the opportunity?  Somewhere between the joy and relief and a bit of something else, a lot of history is going to take place in that City by the Bay today.

Wednesday Morning Stories:
A Comeback for the Ages: New York Times
Historic America's Cup Comeback: Reuters
Ellison Skips Speech, Watches Cup: Reuters
ETNZ Fighting for Existence, Loss Could Mean End of Team: New Zealand Herald

 
 

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Tuesday, September 24 Races 17 and 18

 



Chasing but not catching in Race 17. Photo:©2013 ACEA/Gilles Martin-Raget
 

America's Cup: Tuesday, Sept 24
Day 14: Races 17 and 18

Tuesday's Program:
2 Match Races, Races 17 and 18.
Challenger vs. Defender: Match Point
Emirates Team New Zealand vs. Oracle Team USA
ETNZ leads the series 8-6, first to 9 points wins match.
First start 1:15pm, second start 2:15pm PDT.

Conditions:
Early forecast for winds 17-20 knots, replaced by morning forecast for winds 20-25, and an hour before start time the winds are verifying at the higher end of the range.  High Tide 3:16-3:30pm, Max Flood 1:16pm, times approximate and varying across the course.  Flood current for racing.  Initial Wind limits are 24.7 knots for Race 17 (23-knot nominal limit plus 1.7-knot Flood Tide) and 24.1 knots for Race 18 (23-knots plus 1.1 knot).

Watch:
USA: Live television broadcast on NBCSN at 4:00pm ET/1:00pm PT.  No live YouTube in USA during racing.  For more details, international coverage, and other options see: How to Watch

Also:
Check live wind and race data: VirtualEye Live Stats
Official Race Chatter and updates: @AmericasCupLive

Day 14 Stories:
In the hands of the Experts:
Bob Fisher "Almost Unthinkable": Yachts & Yachting
Stuart Alexander "That Most Essential of Things":
The Independent
Gary Jobson "I Feel Your Pain": Sailing HOF

Also:
Larry Ellison working two jobs: Reuters
C-Class Catamaran Championship boats look familiar to America's Cup Fan: Cat Sailing News
Oracle Keeps Winning: Cat Sailing News
Taking stock of AC34: Sailing World
Grant Dalton Back Onboard Today: AmericasCup.com

"Team New Zealand Have to Believe":
New Zealand Herald

Preview:
How much tension can one boat race stand?

With the score at 8-6, this is the last race day where Emirates Team New Zealand can win the America's Cup, but Oracle Team USA cannot.  Two more Oracle wins, though, will force a monumental final Race 19 for all the stakes.

Winds are expected to be in the upper teens today.  The flood tide will raise the wind limit slightly, making it possible that two races can be completed on schedule.  Winds an hour before Race Start time, however, are coming in stronger than expected, and the wind limits could still come into play either before the start or during the race.

The stakes are high enough already, though, and nowhere more so than in the starting box.  The flood tide will make the pin end of the line a risky place to be, with the danger of getting pushed too low to start cleanly.  More importantly, the flood tide means that the upwind Leg 3, which holds most of the passing potential for a trailing boat, will again be locked into the sheltering cone in the waters behind Alcatraz.  The trailing boat can only lose by splitting, and instead must follow the leader with few opportunities to gain or pass until they get well up the leg.  The start looms more enormously over these races than ever.  Everyone knows it, and Dean Barker and crew will be out to try and quash Oracle's hopes before the series gets any closer.  The inverse logic of a series leader applies, in that ETNZ can afford to gamble and lose, while Oracle Team USA doesn't have that luxury.

Race 17:
Winds have calmed slightly to 18-19 knots with less than 10 minutes to the start.  USA will have the Port side entry for the Pre-Start in the first race.

USA enters, goes deep into the box.  90 seconds to start.  NZL follows, USA turns back.  1:15 to start.  Working back, slowly upwind, USA to leeward, NZL ahead and to windward, trying to block the line.  15 seconds to the start, both slightly early.  USA hooks NZL at the starting line, both into a dial-up, stopped dead upwind on the line.  Penalty to NZL for windward-leeward.  NZL drifts downward toward USA.  Contact between the boats.  USA bears away to avoid, second penalty on NZL for not keeping clear after the start.  Penalties give USA a head-start.
 


 

Race 17 (continued):
Onto the downwind leg, 16-second delta for USA.  They head down the shore-side boundary, 300m lead for USA.  Near Marina Green USA gybes away.  Big lead for USA, now 400m.  NZL follows.  USA goes out to the offshore boundary, then gybes.  NZL follows.  USA gybes in the middle of the course and can lay the gate.  NZL does the same, but lead is 530m.  USA rounds, turning right.  NZL turns right also.  Delta is 29 seconds.

On the upwind, USA gets up to speed and tacks to port, going for Alcatraz.  NZL copies.  Lead at the start of Leg 3 is 330m.  Boats doing some foiling upwind.  USA tacks at the boundary onto starboard.  NZL closes the lead as USA loses protection of Alcatraz.  NZL tacks as USA is nearly the left hand boundary to tack back.  Lead 210m as they cross.

Both teams work the left side of the course, tacking short of the middle and going up the shore.  Getting to the top third of the course, they settle in for the longer port tack, anticipating the gate set-up before long.  NZL gains again, lead down to 200m, and tacks to port again.

USA takes one more tack to the left, possibly looking to tack near the port layline for the upwind gate.  NZL coming over to the right.  USA might still need to tack again, and NZL can tack once if they want the left turn.  USA won't lay the mark, they have to tack short, NZL has gained and is within 120m now.  The delta will be smaller.  USA turns left.  NZL turns right.  Upwind delta is 19 seconds.

Downwind the lead is 300m.  USA comes from the shoreside boundary to the center, sailing on port.  NZL gybes from the offshore, coming back on starboard.  USA cross their track and gybes onto starboard.  Lead down to 275m.  40 knots downwind, passing Ft. Mason.  Lead up to 300m.  NZL gybes to port, USA matches.  Likely only one more gybe needed to get around Mark 4 and onto the finish.

USA wins Race 17! Finish delta is 27 seconds.

Match score is 7-8 USA-NZL on points, 9-8 USA on wins.

Race 18:
Start scheduled for 2:15pm PDT.  We either see Emirates Team New Zealand win the America's Cup in the next hour, or a showdown Race 19 for the America's Cup on Wednesday.  Race 18 Winds 20-21 knots at last report.  Port tack Pre-start entry for ETNZ today, and tomorrow if necessary.

Both boats into the box.  USA to windward. NZL going for the hook.  NZL to leeward, has overlap.  Both early for the line.  Protest flag on USA. Green flag.  Dial-up with 15 seconds to go.  Clean start, drag race to Mark 1.  USA pulling ahead slightly, but not able to drop in front.  NZL leads onto Leg 2.  Delta at Mark 1 was 5 seconds.

Early lead is 50m for NZL.  Pinned along the boundary, both gybe, Oracle gybes slowly, and loses distance, lead out right away to 200m.  Oracle closes up a bit, lead drops to 125m, with offshore boundary coming up. They gybe to port.  USA close behind, lead down to 115-100m.  40-knots nearing the bottom gate.  One more gybe needed to round.  USA splits. NZL to the port layline, and heads for the left gate.  USA turns right.  Delta is 6 seconds.

Lead is 60m upwind before USA tacks.  Both boats out to the right, NZL tacks back for a cross.  60m lead.  50m after the tack. NZL tacks early, hoping to leebow.  A slow tack, USA is close.  Can USA roll NZL?  The boundary is coming fast.  Dangerous spot for USA.  They tack in unison, USA gets a small lead out of it.  NZL waits 30 seconds and tacks back to port, hoping to get some more benefit out of Alcatraz while avoiding USA's bad air.  USA keeps going to the left boundary near the shore.  NZL tacks back and is 180m behind.  NZL over to the shore boundary, and they cross behind USA by 120m.  Both now settle onto port tack.  USA gains out to about 225m, then tacks to starboard in the middle of the course.  Lead is 200m when they cross.  NZL out to the right further, tacks to starboard.  USA lead appears to be growing.  275m lead when they cross.  The gains are on the left, now NZL's turn.  USA goes to the port layline, sets-up for a righthand gate.  NZL goes to the starboard, they might not lay the mark, and will need an extra tack.  USA is away onto the downwind.  The lead will be huge.  Delta over 56 seconds.

The lead is 940m as ETNZ rounds.  Impossible to catch here unless something goes entirely wrong on the leading boat.  ETNZ was only a hair slow on the Leg 3 cross, but USA leveraged it into an even position, then a pass, and then pulled away.  Lead over 1000m.

USA wins Race 18! Finish Delta is 54 seconds.  Match is tied at 8 points.  Final Race 19 will decide the 2013 America's Cup.

Sep 24: Watch Post-Race Press Conference at America's Cup You Tube Channel


 

A starting line dial-up worked out badly for Emirates Team New Zealand, bringing two penalties and setting them 16 seconds back at Mark 1. ©2013 ACEA/ Photo: Abner Kingman



Tactics aside, speed was the story of the day and Oracle Team USA seemed to have more of it upwind.  ETNZ made gains and might have been slightly faster downwind, but not enough to make up the difference.
©2013 ACEA/Photo: Ricardo Pinto
 

 

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Monday, September 23 Race 16

 



Image:©2013 ACEA/Photo: Abner Kingman
 

America's Cup: Monday, Sept 23
Day 13: Race 16

Monday's Program:
2 Match Races, Races 16 and 17.
Challenger vs. Defender: Match Point
Emirates Team New Zealand vs. Oracle Team USA
ETNZ leads the series 8-5, first to 9 points wins match.
First start for 1:15pm, second start 2:15pm PDT.

Conditions:
Morning forecast is for lighter winds 8-10 knots at Race 1 start time, 10-14 knots at Race 2 scheduled start.  High Tide 2:35-2:49pm, Slack Water 3:14, times approximate and varying across the course.  Flood current for racing.

Watch:
USA: Live television broadcast on NBCSN at 4:00pm ET/1:00pm PT.  No live YouTube in USA during racing.  For more details, international coverage, and other options see: How to Watch

Also:
Check live wind and race data: VirtualEye Live Stats
Official Race Chatter and updates: @AmericasCupLive

Race 16:
Start postponed to 1:45 at last report.  Wind is not consistent across the course.  Check Race Chatter above for latest updates.  The start time makes it uncertain whether a second race can be sailed today.

Start underway, they come back to the line slightly early, USA to windward, NZL to leeward.  USA moving faster, accelerates more after the gun, gets in front of NZL and sails down in front of them.  USA leads at Mark 1. Delta is 5 seconds.

Onto the first downwind, winds about 10 knots.  Both gybe, USA foiling first.  About 175m lead for USA and they both go to the offshore boundary.  Gybing back, USA gains slightly, again up on foils first.  210m lead.  NZL starts gaining slightly, gybes away past the middle of the course, USA lets them go for a while.  NZL trying to set up for the righthand gate, USA aiming for the left.  USA might save one gybe.  NZL is gaining a lot on the offshore side.  Lead will be 50m and they come back on starboard.  NZL loses just enough in the gybe so as to not cross USA.  USA turns left, NZL turns right.  Delta at Mark 2 is 13 seconds.

USA goes out to the offshore boundary, and tacks.  NZL tacks once they are up to speed after the rounding and comes over to the right, too.  USA tacks back to cover and stay near Alcatraz.  Lead is about 120m as they trade a couple tacks.  Then they start across the course on a starboard tack, USA gaining.  Slightly better wind.  Lead is up to 160m.  USA tacks at the boundary.  NZL follows.  Lead remains stable.  USA tacks back to the boundary.  NZL goes to starboard, USA tacks to port off the boundary.  Lead up to 170m, then down to 115m.  USA tacks goes to the boundary, and comes back again.  NZL is still trading tacks, staying out of phase, but both are close as the left is the favored part of the course here.


 

Race 16 (continued):
USA looking for the long tack on port to set-up the upwind gate rounding.  NZL following, but has lost slightly, lead out 200m, then down to 180m.  USA one more tack to the port layline, then tack to approach for a righthand turn.  NZL out to the right, saves a tack, rounds the mark, turning left.   Delta at the upwind gate is 19 seconds.

Downwind, NZL comes back from the shore side, gains on USA, lead down to 140m, gybes away.  USA gybes to starboard to follow.  One slip here and NZL will get the lead.  Past Marina Green they are at 30-32 knots.  USA gains slightly, NZL gybes.  USA gybes to cover.  Slightly better gybe by USA, lead opens up a bit to 180m.

USA doing better.  Lead out to 250m

Oracle Team USA will win Race 16!  Finish delta is 32 seconds.  They tie ETNZ on number of wins at eight for each team, trail 6-8 in points. 

Racing resumes Tuesday.  There is not enough time to re-set for a second race today.  Rules require 32 minutes between races, and the final race has to start before 2:40 for television coverage and compliance with the Coast Guard regulatory permits.

Quotes of the Day:
Ray Davies
, Tactician, Emirates Team New Zealand: "The plan was to start to leeward of Oracle and they did a pretty nice job of getting us compressed right down to the leeward end there, and they jumped us pretty quickly. It was pretty evident about fifteen seconds after the start that they’re very strong."

Dean Barker, Skipper, Emirates Team New Zealand: "We still wouldn’t trade positions, still would rather be on Match Point than having to win three more, but it’s definitely a battle.  There’s no question the oracle guys have stepped it up a lot, and we need to be able to respond.  We’re obviously spending a lot of time talking about how we can do things better.  We’re certainly not error-free and we need to improve ourselves.  The guys are very very positive, we know we can win and that belief is going to be there to the very end."

Jimmy Spithill, Skipper, Oracle Team USA: "Life’s not fair sometimes, but the beauty of sport is that you can win if you go out and win the race, and that’s what we’re about.  We can win this Cup.  They can take as many races as they want, but for us we know we can win this Cup if we win the next few races.  So we can control our own destiny there and the boys are incredibly fired up.  I’ve never seen them like this before and just the entire team, there’s just a lot of great energy there."

Watch Post-Race Press Conference replay on:
America's Cup YouTube Channel




ETNZ was close all Race 16, but not able to pass. Photo:©2013 Chris Cameron/ETNZ
 

 

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Sunday, September 22 Races 14 and 15

 



Photo:©2013 Chris Cameron/ETNZ
 

America's Cup: Sunday, Sept 22
Day 12: Races 14 and 15

Sunday's Program:
2 Match Races, Races 14 and 15.
Challenger vs. Defender: Match Point
Emirates Team New Zealand vs. Oracle Team USA
ETNZ leads the series 8-3, first to 9 points wins match.
First start for 1:15pm, second start 2:15pm PDT.

Conditions:
Early forecast for winds 12-15 knots, becoming 15-18 knots by the second race. High Tide 1:58-2:12pm, Slack Water 2:34, times approximate and varying across the course.

Watch:
USA: Live television broadcast on NBCSN at 4:00pm ET/1:00pm PT.  No live YouTube in USA during racing.  For more details, international coverage, and other options see: How to Watch

Also:
Check live wind and race data: VirtualEye Live Stats
Official Race Chatter and updates: @AmericasCupLive

Race 14:
Start on time.  USA enters on port, both come back early for the line. USA trying to hold NZL up high.  They start side by side, NZL to weather, drag race to Mark 1.  Clean start. USA has an overlap, is luffing NZL. Up, up. Far from the mark. USA bears away trying to get as much out of their position as possible. Right up to the boundary, then they gybe together. USA still trying to luff NZL. NZL slows down a bit, the overlap is broken. USA edges ahead to an early lead.

USA sailing slightly faster. Both gybe back. Wind looks better in center of course. NZL matching USA, just slightly behind and to weather. USA out to 175m lead.  To the offshore boundary, they gybe in sync. Back on starboard gybe, preparing to set up for the downwind gate. USA goes to the port layline, NZL splits to the starboard and USA lets them go.

Into the gate USA turns left, NZL turns right. Delta is 24 seconds. Upwind lead is 280m. USA looking for flood tide protection in the Alcatraz cone. NZL soon tacks to port, too, and heads right. USA already coming off the boundary tacks back to cover them, getting in phase.  Lead under 200m. USA decides to keep going left as NZL goes right. Once NZL gets on starboard, a longer tack out to the left boundary and NZL gains. Lead under 150m. USA tacks at the boundary and can cross NZL.  Wind is getting softer as they go up.

Trading tacks now on the left boundary. NZL is gaining, the lead is under 50. USA gets ahead with right-of-way on the cross, but they will be on port next time.  USA off the boundary, while NZL tacks, slow tack, and comes in trying to hunt USA, but passes behind.  NZL has to avoid a downspeed tack, keeps going to the boundary.

Getting up to the Marina, USA will settle in on port tack.  A left shift is helping that tack, and they are trying to point as well as possible.  NZL is working on matching them. Lead is 100m. NZL's track is to windward of USA, but USA might just be able to cross if they tack.  USA likely looking to get to the layline.

USA tacks short of the layline, hoping to turn right at the top gate and take advantage of a right shift and offshore current. NZL goes to the layline, tacking for the left gate. USA rounds, NZL is close behind. Delta is 15-seconds.

236m lead as they start the final downwind leg.  Lead is growing, NZL gybes. 340m. NZL splits, USA lets them go.  they get to opposite side. USA comes back, trying to gybe on NZL's track and cover. By the time they get there and gybe, the lead is under 50m. But NZL doesn't roll them and has to gybe away. Lead instantly grows again for USA. They split again and come back.  NZL doesn't find the wind this time, USA is foiling, but NZL is not right up away. USA out to a 700m lead now.

Tacks are highly unequal, coming back, NZL cuts down lead quickly.  Lead under 250m with USA on starboard and NZL gybing to port.  Approaching the bottom of the leg, both are trying to set up for one last gybe to get to the mark.

USA gybes for the mark, NZL is coming fast, but USA is just far enough ahead.

USA will win Race 14!  Finish delta was 23 seconds.


 

Race 15:
Start scheduled for 2:22pm PDT.  Boat into the starting box, USA on port.  NZL crosses USA on port, USA protest, no penalty, green flag.   Both early for the line, USA to leeward, trying to hold NZL off.  USA a bit behind, maybe not able to block them.  They start even at the gun, clean start, drag race.  NZL can't pull ahead.  USA leads into Mark 1.  Delta 3 seconds.

Downwind USA lead is under 100m.  NZL gybes away in front of Golden Gate YC. USA waits a minute and gybes too.  USA gybes to starboard in the middle of the course.  USA keeps going.  Lead quickly builds on wind shift, but NZL looking to get it back later.  NZL out to the shoreside boundary.  NZL is getting lighter air, sailing 4-5 knots slower than USA, lead expands quickly.  700m for USA.  NZL coming to the boundary.  USA rounds turning left, 700m ahead, and heads upwind.  But if wind is patchy it could be treacherous before the finish.

USA working up on port tack to the righthand boundary.  Delta at downwind gate was 1:00.  NZL turns right, gets up to speed, and tacks to port too.  USA comes across now on starboard, crosses well ahead, lead at 450 m, and keeps going left.  USA tacks to port just past the middle of the course, NZL tacks to starboard get out of phase.  USA eventually tacks to cover.  NZL making gains there.  Lead down to 300m.  They trade a few tacks near the left boundary and then set up for a longer tack up the course on port.  USA gains, getting better current and wind sooner.  USA tacks in the middle and heads back to the left.  NZL going right still.  USA lead out to 375m.  USA goes to the let boundary, tacks, heads on port aiming for one more tack before rounding.  They will come into the Gate on starboard.  NZL finally in better conditions has close to 275m.  USA turns left.

After rounding, USA bears away, taking the downwind on the shore sire.  NZL turns right, and rounds in the offshore.  NZL gained 28 seconds on the upwind, delta is 32 seconds.  380m lead for USA on the final downwind leg.

Halfway down Leg 4, the wind favors the leading boat, lead is out to 500m.  huge wind hole behind Alcatraz send USA into a slow slow gybe, NZL nearly catches them lead down to barely 100m and NZL coming fast, but they too have to negotiate the hole.  USA gets out, back up to speed and rounds Mark 4.  NZL follows but is trailing again.

USA wins Race 15!  Finish delta was 37 seconds.  The America's Cup Match score goes to 5-8 USA-NZL.  Racing Resumes Monday.

Quotes of the Day:
Glenn Ashby
, Emirates Team New Zealand: "It’s really, really quite tricky. We certainly saw less than 10 knots on our part of the race course a couple of times. It’s tricky. Forecasting conditions is difficult, and certainly moding the boat is more difficult in actual fact. The boats go through such a big range of conditions.  You get your configuration a little bit wrong, it doesn’t affect one little thing, it sort of has a chain reaction and it affects the whole rest of the boat. Both teams were probably a little caught out by the conditions today, but that’s yachting."

Dean Barker, Skipper, Emirates Team New Zealand: "We chose right on the cutoff in terms of having enough time to change sails. We made a call. We just looked at the conditions and the forecast we were sort of expecting. It was a tough call, we were expecting the breeze to sort of build more than it did, and it was probably the wrong decision, but it certainly didn’t cost us the race. It wasn’t the reason we didn’t win the race."

Glenn Ashby, ETNZ, on continually making changes to the boats without time to confirm effects in testing: "The boat’s a 72-foot carbon development platform, flying carpets. At the end of the day you’ve got to trust your numbers, you’ve got to trust your instincts, and you’ve got to trust your gut feel.  Both teams have got clever guys.  There’s a lot of brain power whizzing away in some of those offices.... The development process continues and it’s really exciting to be a part of.  It gives you a great feeling when you go out on the water the following day that you could be potentially be making that boat that you’re sailing that little bit better."

Watch Post-Race Press Conference Replay on YouTube




Image:©2013 ACEA/Photo Balazs Gardi


Photo:©2013 ACEA/Gilles Martin-Raget
 

 

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Saturday, September 21 Racing Postponed

 

 

America's Cup: Saturday, Sept 21
Day 11: Races 14 and 15 Postponed

Saturday's Program:
2 Match Races, Races 14 and 15.
Challenger vs. Defender: Match Point
Emirates Team New Zealand vs. Oracle Team USA
ETNZ leads the series 8-3, first to 9 points wins match.
First start originally scheduled for 1:15pm, second start 2:15pm PDT.  With weather delay, first start now pending for 2:15pm at last report.  Second race, if needed, not possible today within time limits.

Conditions:
Early forecast is for a southerly wind.  The race course cannot be set in the permitted areas of San Francisco Bay for that wind orientation.  Racing will be postponed if the wind is southerly at race time.  Winds are expected to veer westerly with the passage of a front, which would then allow racing.  Latest permitted start time under the rules is 2:40pm.  Predicted winds after the front are 16-19 knots. High Tide 1:23-1:37pm, Slack Water at 1:56pm, times approximate and varying across the course.  See Race Area Diagram | See more comments from Regatta Director Iain Murray at Morning Briefing


 

Watch:
USA: Live television broadcast on NBCSN at 4:00pm ET/1:00pm PT.  No live YouTube in USA during racing.  For more details, international coverage, and other options see: How to Watch

Race 14:
Start planned for 2:40pm at last report (officials have changed it several times).  Wind has been 225-230 degrees.  Principal Race Officer (PRO) John Craig says that they can lay a course as long as the wind is in that range, or higher.  A second portion of the front is passing, and with it the wind is swinging.  2:40 is the latest possible start under the Sailing Instructions.  Wind limit presently 22 knots (nominal 23-knot limit minus 1 knot of ebb current).

The wind does not settle down in time to lay a fair race course from top to bottom.  At 2:33 racing is postponed for the day. Racing resumes Sunday.
 

 

 

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Friday, September 20 Race 13

 



Photo:©2013 Chris Cameron/ETNZ
 

America's Cup: Friday, Sept 20
Day 10: Race 13

Friday's Program:
2 Match Races, Races 13 and 14.
Challenger vs. Defender: Match Point
Emirates Team New Zealand vs. Oracle Team USA
ETNZ leads the series 8-2, first to 9 points wins match.
First start 1:15pm, second start 2:15pm PDT

Conditions:
Early forecast was for light winds, 11-15 knots, but a cold front is arriving earlier than expected.  Winds may build into the upper teens or higher as the afternoon progresses.  High Tide 12:49-1:03pm, Slack Water at 1:18pm, times approximate and varying across the course.  Initial wind Limit for Race 13 is 23.3 knots and for Race 14 21.3 knots.

Watch:
USA: Live television broadcast on NBCSN at 4:00pm ET/1:00pm PT.  No live YouTube in USA during racing.  For more details, international coverage, and other options see: How to Watch

Also:
Check live wind and race data: VirtualEye Live Stats
Official Race Chatter and updates: @AmericasCupLive

Preview:
Oracle Team USA has a new measurement certificate, now with a longer bowsprit.  Grant Dalton will be not be onboard for Race 13.  NZL has port entry for Race 13.  USA has port entry for Race 14.

Race 13 Attempt 1:
Winds at 1:00 pm reported 7-11 knots.  Low fog is heavy on the windward end of the course. Start coming 1:15 pm PDT.  The entry box buoys were misaligned, the start is postponed to 1:20 for another try after the marks are re-set.

Both boats enter, NZL 5 seconds late, USA ten seconds late.  NZL gets across underneath without a dial-up.  But the winds are light.  USA sets up immediately for the line on a time and distance start.  NZL comes back and gets to windward of them.  Slight lead for USA at the start.  20 knots boatspeed on both boats in the reach to Mark 1.  USA luffing NZL keeping them away from Mark 1.  All is in slow-motion compared to earlier races.

It is a 10-second delta for USA at Mark 1.  Downwind both are on port gybe, USA ahead, NZL slightly behind and to weather.  Downwind boat speeds are in the teens.  They gybe back toward shore.  NZL gets advantage of current first and pulls nearly even.  NZL gets some wind, enough to fly a hull, and ekes out a small lead.  They gybe and cross USA on starboard before Oracle can get there.  Wind works for NZL, they are 400m ahead while USA is trying to catch a puff and catch up.  They split the course a little, NZL going left, USA going right.  Lead grows but USA finds better wind.  Bottom gate coming up.  Lead 600m.

USA rounds 1:41 behind, though lead is just over 500m.  Both upwind now.  NZL turned right, USA turned left.  The boats are also racing the time limit. The race needs to be completed in 40 minutes (per the Sailing Instructions), and it took 14 minutes just for Legs 1 and 2.  NZL heads off to the right, USA goes left and gets better wind, starts chewing up NZL's lead, now under 350m.  NZL eventually tacks back to starboard and covers a bit.  Wind up the course is better and NZL gets it first.  They extend to 600m on the left while USA is far right.  700m.  NZL will need to finish in less than 14 minutes, and they haven't even round Mark 3 yet.  They took 11 minutes to do Leg 2.  There are 12 minutes left under the time limit.  NZL rounds Mark 4.  USA is 1000m behind.

Downwind, time keeps running down, 7 minutes, 6 minutes, NZL barely halfway down the course.  5 minutes to go, NZL has to reach Mark 4 and sail the finish leg.  They are getting to 20 knots on the downwind leg inbetween gybes.  But it's looking unlikely they will even make Mark 4 in time.  Less than 4 minutes to go.  With a minute to go they aren't quite to Mark 4.  It's just not in these conditions to sail a complete race.  The regatta director will call for the Race to be abandoned, per the rules.  Race 13 will be sailed again.



Race 13 Attempt 2:
Start scheduled for 2:33 pm.  On time.  Both into the box.  More wind this try.  NZL deep, USA staying closer to the line and to windward.  Spithill comes down and tries to get under for the hook.  Barker comes down, prevents the hook.  NZL gets a clear start ahead.

They both bear off onto the downwind.  USA 3 seconds behind.  Both foiling downwind on starboard.  USA within 20m, then gybes away.  NZL follows after about 10 seconds.  USA gains being further offshore.   Boats even.  USA gybes back, bringing starboard.  NZL crosses on port and USA heads up to avoid.  USA calls protest.  Penalty call coming.  USA gets into the lead and NZL turns to follow them.  Umpires penalize NZL for port-starboard violation.
See Photo Gallery of the Incident and View Umpire System Replay (mp4)

USA out to 120m lead.  Into the gate, USA can lay it. NZL has to dive to round.  USA below holds NZL out, changes to a right hand turn in the middle of the gate.  They force NZL to gybe twice, downspeed, and continue slowly to the lefthand gate.  Oracle gains.  Delta was 20 seconds at Mark 2.

Upwind, USA got better results on the right side, headed up Leg 3 they are out to a 375m lead.  NZL tacks to get to the left.  USA keeps going right, then tacks to cover.  Both on starboard now.  USA tacks to come back to the left, wind doesn't favor them but they want to cover.  They trade a few more tacks and USA bounces NZL to the left boundary.  USA on port gets a big left shift, starts to pull out ahead again.  Over 300m.  USA doesn't want to get too far away, though, and comes back again to try to tack ahead of NZL.  Lead shrinks.  Under 150m.  NZL is too far right, though, and USA is getting the better of the shift and the current.  NZL had to tack underneath them and being on the wrong side of the shift kills their chances.  USA out to 350m and about to round Gate 3, turning right and will open up a huge lead downwind.

USA has passed and gone to a 46-second lead at Mark 3, 500m ahead on the final downwind leg.  Halfway down the course the breeze is shifting, but USA still 550m ahead.  NZL switches to fly their Code Zero.

USA wins Race 13!  Finish delta is 1:23. After being within minutes of losing the America's Cup before time was called earlier in the day, USA brings the score up to 3-8, with NZL one point away from winning the Match.

Quotes of the Day:
A key sequence unfolded downwind on Leg 2 as ETNZ ahead came across on port gybe, fouling Oracle Team USA coming at them on starboard, with NZL losing distance and getting a penalty from the umpires on top of it:

Ray Davies, Tactician, Emirates Team New Zealand: "They made a pretty nice gain before that, and that would have been the better move to gybe a little bit before them and protect the long starboard at that point.   That was an error in that lighter air.  With a click more breeze you’re able to gybe in front of them and keep your air forward, but in that lighter air, by the time you hook up, we ended up in their gas."

Ben Ainslie, Tactician, Oracle Team USA: "It’s quite difficult because as we were going down that run, the breeze was dying off so it gave us the opportunity to attack and it was a very difficult spot for the kiwis to decide whether to gybe in front or to pass us."

That incident put Oracle Team USA in the lead as the yachts came into the downwind gate.  Oracle, laying the lefthand side of the gate made a sudden change to turn right, leaving Emirates to scramble for the left, losing ground in the process.

Ben Ainslie, on the last-second decision to round Gate 3 to the right: "It was clearly a tricky spot because there was a big righthand shift coming into that gate and we weren’t 100% sure whether Dean and the guys were going to lay to the left gate or not.  But as soon as they gybed, then we made that split second decision to gybe, and they would then have to follow us to the right gate, or take another gybe back to the left, and we’d be in favor with the shift on the right tack.  But we were obviously waiting for them to see what their move was before we made that final choice and it was a last second thing which went well."

Dean Barker, Skipper, Emirates Team New Zealand, on leading in an America's Cup Match-winning race only to have the time limit exceeded: "It’s obviously tough on the guys. They put a lot into the race and you obviously race as hard as you can, and we weren’t really thinking about the time limit until that second downwind that we realized it was going to become an issue. I think it’s about being able to put it behind you. You can cry, or you can laugh, and we did. We got back into it, got off the line well in the second one. We had a lead in the second one , but we obviously didn’t do as good a job as we could have, so that was frustrating. We had another opportunity there that we let go, and we have to make sure were on our game tomorrow."



Photo:©2013 Chris Cameron/ETNZ
 

 

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Thursday, September 19 Race 12

 



Photo:©2013 Chris Cameron/ETNZ
 

America's Cup: Thursday, Sept 19
Day 9: Races 12 and 13

Thursday's Program:
2 Match Races, Races 12 and 13.
Challenger vs. Defender: Match Point
Emirates Team New Zealand vs. Oracle Team USA
ETNZ leads the series 8-1, first to 9 points wins match.
First start 1:15pm, second start 2:15pm PDT
Race 13 only if needed

Conditions:
Morning forecast is for winds 15-18 knots, increasing during the day.  High Tide 12:15-12:29pm, Slack Water at 12:40pm, times approximate and varying across the course.  Ebb current for Race 12 start, increasing with the afternoon.  Wind pattern is similar to Wednesday, a second race, if needed, may encounter the wind limits.  Initial limits are 22.2 for Race 12 and 20.3 for Race 13.

Watch:
USA: Live television broadcast on NBCSN at 4:00pm ET/1:00pm PT.  No live YouTube in USA during racing.  For more details, international coverage, and other options see: How to Watch

Also:
Check live wind and race data: VirtualEye Live Stats
Official Race Chatter and updates: @AmericasCupLive

Race 12:
USA and skipper Jimmy Spithill catch NZL on their back foot, get a nice jump at the line while ETNZ is headed up. 5-second delta at the line.

Downwind, both gybe, 110m lead for USA.  Near the offshore boundary, they gybe again, NZL gaining slightly, lead down to 85m.  Downwind gate coming up.  Neither can lay the gate, NZL gybes first, looking to separate.  USA lets them go and waits for the layline.  coming into the gate, Oracle well ahead.  USA rounds first, turning left, taking the offshore.  NZL turns right.  11-second delta.



Race 12 (continued):

USA goes up to the righthand boundary, then tacks.  Both boats now on starboard.  NZL is making gains, lead is going to NZL.  They tack to port.  Cross coming, lead going back to USA, who has right-of-way at the cross.  USA crosses ahead.  USA tacks at the lefthand boundary and comes back, is well ahead of NZL.  115m lead.  USA comes back to consolidate their lead, tacks ahead of NZL, bounces them back to the left on starboard.

USA crosses the tide line, NZL gets a boost from the ebb current.  USA crosses on starboard with a 60m lead.  USA tacks at the lefthand boundary.  Both settle in on port for a long tack.  Oracle on the left.  USA gains slightly upwind.  USA tacks to protect the favored left side now.  NZL stuck out on the right.  USA lead to 145m.

USA well ahead crosses NZl, then comes back to cover leading into the mark.  USA tacks at the layline, looking to lay the gate.  NZL in point mode, hoping to climb up a bit and threaten at the gate.  NZL will have an extra tack before rounding the gate.  USA is clear ahead, rounds first, turns right, and goes for the offshore and some favorable current.  NZL turns left.  Delta is 10 seconds.

On the final downwind leg, lead starts out at 200m, quickly up to 400m.  USA has a much better angle.  Quickly a 474m lead.  NZL gybes on USA's track, USA over 500m lead.

USA will win Race 12!  Match score is 2-8 USA-NZL.

Race 13:
Start time scheduled for 2:15 pm PT.  Delayed start to 2:20, winds are rising over limits right on schedule.  Last reported pending start time is 2:25, then 2:27, then 2:32, 2:35, but winds continue to be strong.  Latest start time per the Sailing Instructions is 2:40.  Even if a start is made, chances of getting through the start sequences and through to the 4th leg appear slim under present conditions.  But the wind starts trending downward.  Start is on for 2:37 pm.

Underway. USA enters, NZL enters late.  Just under 2 minutes, the wind goes over the limit again and the race is abandoned.  It's too late for another start today.  Racing resumes Friday at 1:15 pm PDT.




Photo:©2013 Chris Cameron/ETNZ
 

 

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Wednesday, September 18 Races 11 and 12

 



Photo:©2013 ACEA/Gilles Martin-Raget
 

America's Cup: Wednesday, Sept 18
Day 8: Races 11 and 12

Wednesday's Program:
2 Match Races, Races 11 and 12.
Challenger vs. Defender
Emirates Team New Zealand vs. Oracle Team USA
ETNZ leads the series 7-1, first to 9 points wins match.
First start 1:15pm, second start 2:15pm PDT

Conditions:
Early forecast is for 15-18-knot winds, likely within limits Wednesday.  High Tide 11:40-11:54am, Low Tide 5:20-5:38pm across the course.  Slack Water at 12:01pm, Maximum ebb at 3:11pm, times approximate and varying across the course.  Building ebb current.

Watch:
USA: Live television broadcast on NBCSN at 4:00pm ET/1:00pm PT.  No live YouTube in USA during racing.  For more details, international coverage, and other options see: How to Watch

Also:
Check live wind and race data: VirtualEye Live Stats
Official Race Chatter and updates: @AmericasCupLive

Race 11:
Start underway at 1:15.  Both boats into the box. Deep and low, ETNZ heading back early.  USA chasing.  NZL slightly late, USA just behind and to windward.  After the gun, NZL looking to luff, USA ends up directly behind.  Once Barker has position directly ahead, it's a drag race to Mark 1, 3-second lead for NZL.

On the downwind leg, USA gybes away.  Lead is about 70m.  The boats split.  NZL waits before copying.  USA gybes back and crosses behind.  NZL loosely covers.  Lead 60-70m.  NZL gets out to 120m, comes back and gybes in front of USA at the layline.  NZL turns left, USA turns right.  6-second delta for NZL, and separation for USA as they go to Leg 3.

Right turn pays of USA, they take the lead. NZL tacks to starboard to chase them.  USA heads for the boundary and tacks.  The tack will cost them distance and NZL will have the starboard as they come to a cross.  NZL has to tack, tries to lee bow them, right ahead, and USA has to short tack to get away.  NZL gets the lead back.  USA goes toward the boundary for another tack.  Lead is up to 120m before USA can get back on track and NZL is coming back at them again on starboard.  USA cross well below them, NZL keeps going left.  USA tacks back to come at NZL on starboard, but will still be behind.  Both working the left side of the course trying to minimize current.

NZL hanging on to a 100m lead, but USA making gains now in the middle, both on port tack.  Lead down to 50m.  Down to 30m.  USA tacks, NZL just makes it past them.  NZL tacks on them and USA tacks back.  NZL gets the better of that.  Wind is rising.  USA will come into the gate on starboard.  NZL on port.  USA is downspeed and will give NZL about 100m around the mark.  16 second delta at the windward gate, now for the final downwind leg.

It's 300m for NZL, though USA is gaining slowly.  A big deficit to overcome with not much time left.   USA gets close, very close, but ENTZ rounds better and hold them off.

ETNZ wins Race 11!  Match total stands at 8-1. If NZL wins the next race, they win the America's Cup.

USA was close, and starting with a lead rather than behind might have made the difference.  A slow tack at the top of Leg 3 put them in a hole they couldn't get out of, despite cutting NZL's lead from 300m down to under 100m on the second-to-last leg.

Race photos: Chris Cameron | Fan Photos: Jan Pehrson
 

Race 12:
America's Cup Match Point.  Oracle Team USA's back is to the wall and it's a must-win for them. Race 11 was close, and USA might have enough boatspeed, but ETNZ prevailed on tactics, in the start, upwind, and at the downwind mark.  Start schedule for 2:15pm.

USA port entry.  Low and deep into the box.  USA back to the line with 1 minutes to go. NZL giving them space.  NZL now coming fast, but USA to leeward go to get under them.  USA trying for the block, NZL trying to speed over the top.  Wind limit called.  15 seconds before the start.  Re-start in 15-minutes.  NZL may have fouled at the start, USA protested, but it's all waved off now.

2:32 is next start time.  Racing must start by 2:40.  Start is now 2:37.  Regatta Director says that the wind has been over the limit every minute since the start.  Even though R12 was called off, he believes that even if started, the 5-minute average would have cause the race to be abandoned anyhow.  Last try for a 2:40 start, but it's just procedural.  The wind immediately goes over the limit and the race is postponed until tomorrow.

 

Preview:
The America's Cup is on the line today.  Oracle Team USA has shown they can stop Emirates Team New Zealand, but the Kiwis are well ahead and even if the Cup battle is joined now, Oracle winning eight race in a row before NZL wins two is a steep climb indeed.  Stranger things have happened, though.

If Jimmy Spithill and his crew are not able to stage a miraculous comeback, though, thoughts quickly turn to what happens next.  Patrizio Bertelli and his Luna Rossa team are expected to become the challenger of record, the details of the challenge such as timing and the class of yachts the real unknowns at this point.  Even if Oracle wins, the consensus was for a smaller yacht, though hopefully not the one-design or AC45-scale extremes that were being shopped around at various times during the past three years as a fallback option.

The AC72 yachts have been amazing to watch, amazing, especially in person where the size and visceral speed of the boats is almost hard to comprehend.  A 130-foot tall boat, with a footprint the size of a tennis court, screaming across the finish line 8 feet in the air, 7 seconds ahead of their opponent, is an adrenaline rush even for spectators.  It's a technological achievement that even the authors of the class rule didn't know was possible when they started.

One of the fascinations of the America's Cup is that you never know what it will be next.  And you never know if it will be the same again.  Anybody too ready to believe the great dismal critics of the internet, and who stayed away from San Francisco and the 2013 America's Cup really missed something special.  The boats have been incredible.  The achievement necessary to build them, sail them, and race them no less so.  We may never see this sort of thing again.

Some may say "Good!" and mean it.  The days of two opponents competing to see who can haul 45,000 pounds of lead around a course at 12 nautical-miles-per-hour for two hours may return.  For all the glorious warm light of nostalgia that the 12-meter era is now bathed in, Harold "Mike" Vanderbilt was wistful for the J-Class to the point of offering to build a second boat from his beloved Ranger's plans if the NYYC would turn back the clock. 

Every era is due their own glories, and for two races, maybe more, we have something really special, historic actually, on our hands in San Francisco.  Enjoy it, truly enjoy it, on its own magnificent terms for what it is.  The America's Cup will go on.



Photos(2):©2013 ACEA/Gilles Martin-Raget
 

 
 

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Sunday, September 15 Races 9 and 10

 



 Image:©2013 ACEA/Photo: Abner Kingman
 

America's Cup: Sunday, Sept 15
Day 6: Races 9 and 10


Click on image to view large and see more photos.
Image:©2013 Chris Cameron/ETNZ

Saturday's Program:
2 Match Races, Races 9 and 10.
Challenger vs. Defender
Emirates Team New Zealand vs. Oracle Team USA
ETNZ leads the series 6-0, first to 9 points wins match.
First start 1:15pm, second start 2:15pm PDT

Conditions:
Early forecast for winds 16-18 knots revised to 17-20 knots.  Low tide 2:45-3:03pm across the course.  Maximum ebb at 12:45pm, slack water at 4:06pm, times approximate and varying across the course.  Ebb current for racing, may raise a chop with wind against tide.  Wind limits could be a factor again today.  Initial wind limit is 20.8 knots for Race 9 (23-knot nominal limit minus 2.2-knot ebb current), 21.4 knots for Race 10.

Watch:
Live television broadcast on NBCSN at 4:00pm ET/1:00pm PT.  No live YouTube in USA during racing.  For more details, international coverage, and other options see: How to Watch

Also:
Check live wind and race data: VirtualEye Live Stats
Official Race Chatter and updates: @AmericasCupLive

Race 9:
Start coming 2:15pm PDT.  Both into the box, USA on port.  USA goes deep into the starting box.  They come back, NZL aggressive for the hook.  Both into the wind off the pin end of the line, NZL to windward.  Late for the gun, USA hold ETNZ away, looking for the chance to get a first step advantage by breaking for the reaching mark first.  4-second lead for USA at Mark 1.

Onto the first downwind leg, USA leads by about 100m.  Both staying on starboard.  They both gybe to port, slight gain for USA.  They extend to 130m, 140m.  Close to 200m at the downwind gate.  Oracle turns left, NZL takes the extra gybe and turns right.  Delta was 18 seconds.  Both continue, Oracle on port tack, NZL on starboard tack.  USA tacks to port once up to speed.  NZL gets over toward the left-hand boundary and comes back.  200m lead for USA.  As they come together, USA ahead, Oracle tacks in the middle of the course and comes back to the right.  NZL tacks below them, and heads back toward shore.  USA keeps edging out to a 300m lead.  Right shift helping USA.

Kiwis are not gaining.  Lead hovering near 300m, sometimes more.  Possibly one more tack to the layline.  Oracle sticking to a loose cover, Ben Ainslie calling for the right-hand gate.

USA is battling the wind limit to round the upwind gate before the race is abandoned.  One they are one the second-to-last leg, breaking the wind limit won't end the race.  Oracle rounds well ahead.  Race on!  Delta is 33 seconds.

USA rounded turning right, ETNZ split, turning left.  Lead at the top of the final downwind leg is 500m, growing to 580m.  Big hill to climb to catch USA.  Lead is 670m and growing.  Out to 740m.

Oracle rounds the bottom gate and will win Race 9 of the America's Cup!  Finish delta 47 seconds. The standings are 6-1 ETNZ.  Oracle Team USA gained on every leg of Race 9.

 

Race 10:
Start scheduled for 2:15 pm. Wind limits may be close to being invoked.  Updated limit is 21.5 knots for Race 10.  Start now scheduled at 2:26.

Both boats into the box, NZL on port.  Barker goes deep.  Spithill follows.  NZL wants the pin end.  Baker sails down past the layline a bit, trying to get Spithill on his right, blocked from the line.  Spithill tries to chase him closer to the line, tries to push him too far to lay the pin.  They both have to pinch to get across without being OCS.  USA a little faster, but NZL maintains the overlap, prevents USA from getting in front.  Protest from NLZ but no penalty.  3.5 second delta.

Onto the downwind, NZL leads, both gybe onto port, and head down the leg.  150m lead for NZL.  USA gybes back to starboard.  NZL follows.  Lead steady.  Then USA gaining.  120m.  A few more gybes, NZL stretches to 200m.  NZL turns right, USA turns left.  Slow rounding for USA and gives up distance to NZL.  10-second delta at the downwind gate.

On the upwind leg, both boats soon tack to the center of the course.  Oracle closes up the lead, down to 150m.  Wind on the left looks better.  NZL tries the right looking for better current.  NZL soon tacks back, lead under 100m.

A long port tack pays for USA.  On the tack back Oracle will cross in front.  20m lead as NZL has to duck.  Upwind gate coming.  One more cross possible.

Big cross coming near the port layline.  USA must dip.  NZL back into the front.  Next tack may make the gate, though.  NZL couldn't get in front, just below the gate Oracle doesn't hunt them, goes to the left mark.  NZL to the right.  Less than one second delta.  Two legs to go.

Within meters as they come together, Spithill goes behind them and keeps going on port gybe.  Loses distance.  NZL pulls out to 100m, will need to gybe, too.  No gains for Oracle.  NZL has a line to the finish.

NZL wins Race 10!  Finish delta is 16 seconds. Score goes to 7-1.

Race Preview:
The first race Sunday is a re-sail of the abandoned Race 9 from Saturday.  Oracle Team USA is feeling a boost from improved performance, able to sail upwind with the Kiwis, not losing ground and if anything gaining, and then pass them when they got into trouble.  Emirates Team New Zealand believes they can win if they don't make mistakes and keep the pressure on.  The teams were surely working on the boats again overnight.  The question is whether Oracle has found something that will keep them even enough with ETNZ to make this a Cup battle all the way to Race 19 if necessary.

Any wins by Oracle at this point put them on the scoreboard, their penalty is now cleared.  If Emirates is back in winning form, though, they could be in position to pack things up on Tuesday and bring the silver home to Auckland.

 

 



Click image to see more Day 6 photos from Jan Pehrson.  Photo:©2013 Jan Pehrson
 

 

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Saturday, September 14 Race 8

 



Click image to see more photos. Image:©2013 Oracle Team USA/Photo: Guilain Grenier

 

America's Cup: Saturday, Sept 14
Day 5: Race 8

Saturday's Program:
2 Match Races, Races 8 and 9.
Challenger vs. Defender
Emirates Team New Zealand vs. Oracle Team USA
ETNZ leads the series 6-0, first to 9 points wins match.
First start 1:15pm, second start 2:15pm PDT

Conditions:
Forecast for winds 18-22 knots.  Low tide 1:40-1:58pm across the course.  Maximum ebb at 11:47am, slack water at 2:44pm, times approximate and varying across the course.  Diminishing ebb current for racing, but may still raise a chop with wind against tide.  Initial prediction is 22.4 knot wind limit (nominal 23 knots minus 1.7 knot ebb current).

Watch:
Live television broadcast on NBCSN at 4:00pm ET/1:00pm PT.  No live YouTube in USA during racing.  For more details, international coverage, and other options see: How to Watch

Race 8:
Start coming 2:15 pm. Winds 18-19 kts.  Both boats deep for the start.  Spithill can't get any advantage on Barker coming to the line.  ETNZ wins the start.  3-second delta at Mark 1 for ETNZ.  Downwind, USA gybes, NZL moves to cover, both now on port.  Oracle gybes to starboard, lead about 80m as NZL covers again.  After about a minute, Oracle goes back to port, NZL gybes nearly ahead of them.  Lead about 120m.  NZL gybes near the layline, ORacle goes too, both now on starboard.  NZL can lay the right hand gate, Oracel tacks another gybe sand turns left. Delta is 8-seconds.

NZL tacks to port to head toward USA, also on port.  Crunch time coming up.  Oracle tacks and crosses 70m behind NZL.  TNZ keeps going.  Boats split, Oracle to the left.  NZL tacks near the boundary.  USA gets a lift near the city-side boundary.  margin is down to 50m.  Crossing coming, ETNZ tacks to port hoping to bounce USA.  Oracle tacks back to shore.  Out and back again, NZL bounces them again, Oracle goes back toward shore, wind appears to be helping them, They come back again, NZL keeps going this time.  Oracle going for the lead.   Both on port now heading up the course, NZL just ahead, well to the left.   Lead to 5m, Oracle is inching forward upwind.  NZL tacks in front of Oracle, overcranks in their turn, may have hydraulic problems with controlling the wing in the tack and not being able to ease it, nearly gets in big trouble at a giant heeling angle, but saves the boat.  Penalty may be coming.  By the time they recover Oracle is 300m ahead.  Penalty NZL!  Not keeping clear.  If Oracle can round, they will have a big head start on the final downwind leg.

27-second delta to USA at the windward gate.  NZL round, lead is 600m growing to 700m.  Oracle has finally broken TNZ's aura of invincibility.  No room for ETNA to catch up here.  Final downwind mark coming up.

Oracle Team USA wins Race 8!  Finish Delta is 52 seconds.  Oracle clears their points penalty, and will score points on any wins after this victory.

Race 9:
Start scheduled for 2:15pm.  Wind not rising past the wind limit yet. No confirmed report of gear issues on ETNZ after that high-angle stall.  19-20 knot winds reported.  Start moved back to 2:20, now 2:25.

Start underway.  Both boats into the box.  ETNZ going in deep again.  Barker early for the line, tries to head up, leeward of USA.  Spithill slightly back and to windward.  Not likely enough to roll them.  NZL holds them out past the reaching mark.  They both bear off, 4-scond lead to ETNZ, and head downwind.

60m lead, both boats on port gybe, right on top each of each other.  Oracle looking slightly faster, downwind gate coming up very quickly.  The boats split, NZl turning right, USA crossing behind them to turn left and try to split.  Delta at the downwind gate is 7 seconds.

Race Committee will need to abandon the race for winds over the limit, just as excitement was peaking.  Both crews look disappointed, as surely fans on all sides are, but the rules are the rules.  Racing resumes Sunday.

 

Also:
See Day 5 Photo Galleries from Official Photographers and Day 5 Photo Gallery from ETNZ's Chris Cameron.

Quotes of the Day:
Dean Barker, Skipper, ETNZ: "You’re going to have some close races. We’ve been aware all the way through that when the Oracle guys get going they’ll be very competitive."

Jimmy Spithill, Skipper, Oracle Team USA: "I think we’ve gained a lot in that we’ve improved our boat.  We’ve seen we’ve come from behind on the upwind leg and passed.  So that is a huge step for our team and a huge confidence booster.  It’s exactly what we need.  The guys have already got more ideas, and they are going to work all night again.  And we’ll come out tomorrow ready to try and step it up once more."

Dean Barker, Skipper, ETNZ:  "Well, the limits are the limits, we knew that coming in here. We obviously respect that and when it obviously triggers the limits, that’s fine, you know.  We accept that.  The thing for here is a lot of focus on Race 1 because of the incident we had, but we come out of today feeling pretty happy with the way we are sailing. 

"We had two leads round Mark 1, which is something that we’ve been working hard on, so that’s encouraging.  And then sailed the runs well. The second we were shaken up it was still tight, but we felt we we’re in a pretty nice spot, the boat felt better, we made some changes from the first race, and I think it would have been an interesting race. But tomorrow is another day and we’ll come out absolutely full on to make sure we win some races."

Preview:
Oracle Team USA did not sail in practice on Friday.  This is likely a sign that in addition to giving the sailors a chance to refresh, though by no means rest, that Oracle also was making modifications to their boat.  Saturday one visible change was a much short bowsprit on Oracle.  Emirates Team New Zealand needs just three more races to take home the America's Cup for a second time.

Oracle is getting out-tacked, out-pointed, and eventually out-raced on the upwind leg.  Downwind they are somewhere between even and ahead of Emirates.

Better tactics to windward will help.  In Thursday's racing ETNZ did everything they could to make the contest about their greatest advantages over the defender.  Oracle got trapped near the boundary, with no good way out, having to tack repeatedly and lose ground each time.  ETNZ has done better playing the flood current cone of protection near Alcatraz Island, but today will be an ebb current, changing up the tactical landscape.

The ebb current will also free up the pre-start, with the boats drifting toward the Committee Boat end this time, and in the second race the current will be getting even lighter.  Aggression levels have been high and that is expected to continue.  The ebb current and the wind may also make conditions rougher than previous races, kicking up seas, and alter some of the match-up.  If winds come in near the wind limits, with the lighter ebb current lowering them from 23 knots, getting one or both races in may be a near-run situation.

But despite the score the boats have been close in many regards until Mark 4, and a few small changes and a few shifts in tactics can change the nature of the competition.  Is that enough to cost the Kiwis another race?  ETNZ has made few mistakes.  Two wins today and Sunday could be quite a celebration.

Compare Challenger and Defender's tacking efficiency at CupStats

 

 


Image:©2013 Oracle Team USA/Photo: Guilain Grenier
 

 

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Thursday, September 12 Races 6 and 7

 



Rising Kiwis, Emirates Team New Zealand is three races from winning the America's Cup back ten years after losing it.  At left is Larry Ellison's 88m/288ft-Feadship Musashi, launched in 2010.  Photo:©2013 Jan Pehrson
 

America's Cup: Thursday, Sept 12
Day 4: Races 6 and 7

Thursday's Program:
2 Match Races, Races 6 and 7.
Challenger vs. Defender
Emirates Team New Zealand vs. Oracle Team USA
ETNZ leads the series 4-0, first to 9 points wins match.
First start 1:15pm, second start 2:15pm PDT

Conditions:
 Winds, early forecast 16-19 knots.  Low tide 11:01-11:19am across the course.  Slack water 11:53am building to max flood at 3:18pm, times approximate and varying across the course.  Flood current for racing.

Watch:
Live television broadcast on NBCSN at 4:00pm ET/1:00pm PT.  No live YouTube in USA during racing.  For more details, international coverage, and other options see: How to Watch

Also:
Check live wind and race data: VirtualEye Live Stats
Official Race Chatter and updates: @AmericasCupLive

Race 6:
Wind 12-13 knots.  Pre-start, Oracle Team USA blocks ETNZ away from the line, starts directly ahead of them at the gun. Oracle leads 8 seconds at the reaching mark. 

Downwind Oracle is slow in gybing, ETNZ pulls up a bit, nearly even at 38m behind very early in Leg 2.  The boats gybe back to starboard, heading to the right side of the course.  Oracle extends a little, ETNZ gybes back to port.  Oracle waits a bit before matching the gybe.  ETNZ gybes and comes back at them.  Oracle stays on port and gets close to the port layline, setting up for the gate rounding.  Lead holding at 100m for USA.

Oracle turns right, ETNZ turns left.  Splitting tacks.  Delta grew to 12 seconds on Leg 2.  Once up to speed, Oracle tacks to port, following ETNZ.  Kiwis off the righthand boundary, cross coming.  ETNZ hunting slightly. Oracle has to duck, slight lead for ETNZ, but just meters and Oracle may be slowly gaining.  Both tack, coming together again, USA on starboard now.  ETNZ ducks.  USA into the lead.  Both onto starboard for a long tack to the right.  Oracle reaches the boundary, a big dial-down, Oracle has to duck.  ETNZ reaches the boundary and tacks, too. 

Both now on port, lead less than 20m.  Oracle may be gaining again, but it's not much.  Oracle tacks back, crosses behind ETNZ, no immediate cover.  ETNZ seems to be gaining on the tacks, and when the boats come together, NZL is forcing Oracle to stay near the left boundary.  Lead is about 150m, 2/3 of the way up the single windward leg.  Coming into the windward gate, the lead is up to about 200m, Oracle closer than previous losses, but not as close as they would like,  ETNZ turns right, and heads downwind.

Race 6 (continued):
Delta is 44 seconds. Lead is 450m.  Last leg now.  Not much room to catch.  Both settle in on starboard. Leads peaks at 590m and Oracle starts making gains, slowly reeling them in, but not enough so far, taking about 100m out of the lead using half the leg to do so.

ETNZ wins Race 6!  Finish delta is 47 seconds.

The split at the bottom of the windward leg allowed ETNZ to pull even, as they traded ducking each other at crosses, until the Kiwi dial-down cemented a small lead for the NZL that they used to keep Oracle on the boundary, given two bad choices, too many tacks (each adding slightly to ETNZ's lead) or not tacking with ETNZ sitting on them from ahead.  Again, a small lead at the top mark becomes an unrecoverable gap on the final downwind leg.

 

Race 7:
Start expected 2:15 pm PDT.  Winds up slightly, 16-17 knots observed as warning signal approaches.  into the box, both boats slightly late.  Away from the line and back, a slow lag for a timed start, ETNZ to weather.  Drag race to reaching mark, ETNZ gets ahead and leads onto the first downwind leg.  Delta is 2 seconds.

Downwind, good gybe on Oracle, both boats onto port, Oracle on ETNZ's left and about 1.5 boat lengths behind.  At the left boundary, they gybe, USA slightly behind ETNZ.  Lead barely 60m. Slow USA gybe costs them 40m.  Both boats now on port, nearing the layline, setting up for the downwind gate.

ETNZ turns right, USA follows.  Delta was 7 seconds. Wind up to 19 knots.  USA follows only briefly on starboard, tacks after gaining speed to head for the shelter of Alcatraz.   ETNZ covers. At the boundary both tack to starboard, the Kiwis ahead.  Oracle tries to get out of phase but stay near the left for now.  NZL lead is growing, over 200m.  Halfway up the leg, 300m.  This will be insurmountable unless something goes wrong for ETNZ.  Nearing the top, 400m.  ETNZ rounds the windward gate, turning right again.  They will be well on their way home by the time USA gets there. 55-second lead at the windward mark.  1000m lead downwind for ETNZ.

ETNZ wins Race 7!  They need three more victories to take the Cup back to Auckland.  Finish delta is 1:06.

A trailing Oracle Team USA couldn't match ETNZ upwind.

Day 4: Quotes of the Day:
Jimmy Spithill, Sipper, USA: "We’re going to go out every single race thinking we can win.  We have to, and we believe that.  We still have a couple of options with the boat that we are going to make changes in this day off.  A little bit of it depends on the weather, but we are going to have to be pretty aggressive now and obviously push as hard as we can...."

Glenn Ashby, Wing Trimmer, NZL: " ...Good maneuvers and good corner speed are effectively what make the little gains, but we’ll definitely keep chipping away."
Read more Day 4 Quotes at CupInfo

Preview:
Oracle Team USA will change tactician John Kostecki for Ben Ainslie.  Also suspected are changes in the jib, which appeared to make Oracle Team USA slow in tacking on Tuesday, and probably many as yet unseen adjustments.

Confrontation is expected again in the pre-start, with Jimmy Spithill surely enjoying the chance to protect a lead rather than be under pressure to make a pass.  The NZL-USA pattern has been that the upwind leg is the crucible of the race.  The blueprint for Oracle is clearly repeat the successes of Races 4 and 5, and stop the mistakes.

The flood current will again put the leeward boat in the pre-start at a disadvantage if they get too close to the pin end of the line.


 


Double-vision.  Oracle led downwind in Race 6, and hasn't stopped believing they can win, but ETNZ got the best of them again on Thursday.  Photo:©2013 Jan Pehrson



Upwind, ETNZ's race yacht Aotearoa were getting it done, pulling away from USA-17 with each tack.
Photo:©2013 Chris Cameron/ETNZ
 

 

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Tuesday, September 10 Race 5

 



Objects in your rearview mirror may be gaining on you.  Photo:©2013 Chris Cameron/ETNZ
 

America's Cup: Tuesday, Sept 10
Day 3: Races 5 and 6

Tuesday's Program:
2 Match Races, Races 5 and 6.
Challenger vs. Defender
Emirates Team New Zealand vs. Oracle Team USA
ETNZ leads the series 3-0, first to 9 points wins match.
First start 1:15 pm, second start 2:15 pm PDT

Conditions:
Fog in some areas of the course, maybe heavy.  Winds are predicted in the 18-22 knot range, and could trend higher. High tide 3:32-3:46pm across the course.  Max flood approximately 1:23pm, just after the start of Race 5.  Wind limits are initially 24.9knots in Race 5 (23-knot nominal limit plus 1.9 knots of flood current) and 24.5 knots in Race 6 (23 knots plus 1.5 knots of flood current).

Watch:
Live television broadcast on NBCSN at 4:00pm ET/1:00pm PT.  No live YouTube in USA during racing.  For more details, international coverage, and other options see: How to Watch

Also:
Check live wind and race data: VirtualEye Live Stats
Official Race Chatter and updates: @AmericasCupLive

Race 5:
Underway at 1:15.  Winds 21 knots.  Drag race start, Oracle to windward, ETNZ to leeward. ETNZ looks to have more speed at the gun, but Oracle to windward rolls them, cuts in front, leads at the reaching mark.  Three second delta, but an important gap as they go onto the downwind.

ETNZ follows downwind, USA out to 140m.  ETNZ tries to split, Oracle stays ahead for a loose covering move on starboard.  Oracle aiming for a foiling tack around the downwind gate, turning right. 

Eight second delta.  Oracle goes onto port, heading for the protection of Alcatraz against the current.  They slowed dramatically as they drop off the foils in rounding the first downwind mark, letting ETNZ close up most of the lead distance.

ETNZ rounds, turning right also, but waits to get up to speed before following Oracle onto the same tack, 50m behind and to windward.  Oracle, soon to tack to starboard, will need to get far enough to cross ahead of ETNZ, and they do so, the Kiwis making a slight dip to get by.

Oracle heads for the shore on starboard tack, catching adverse current.  ETNZ staying on right side pulls into the lead.  Oracle coming back to the right on port, but sees ETNZ tack in front of them, forcing them back.  ETNZ now 300m ahead.  With both on port, heading up a long tack to the right side of the course, ETNZ looks faster.  Lead grows to 550m.

Emirates round the top mark, turning right.  Lead will be huge.  Oracle looks slow.  They also need an extra tack to round, turning left.  Delta is 1:17.  A catch looks impossible.

On the last downwind leg, ETNZ is already 1000m ahead.

ETNZ will win Race 5!  Emirates Team New Zealand now leads the America's Cup Match 4-0, needing just five more wins to take the trophy.  Finish Delta was 1:03.  Winds were 21-23 knots.

 

 

Race 6:
Start was expected 2:15 pm PT.  Ten minutes before, as permitted by the rules, Oracle Team USA instead uses their single privilege to request postponement of the second race of the day.  Each team may do so once for the entire span of the regatta. There is speculation on whether there were mechanical problems on the boat.  Spithill confirms post-race though that it's just a re-set for the team, taken strategically, and not a breakdown. Racing will resume Thursday with Races 6 and 7 scheduled.

Read Race 5 Post-Race Report and Analysis

See Race 5 Photos from Jan Pehrson

The postponement request is covered in the Protocol Rules for the 2013 America's Cup, Article 12 (d)(v).  There is no requirement that any sort of damage have impacted the boat:

Excerpt: "A Competitor may request ACRM to postpone a race that is scheduled to be the second race in a day by contacting ACRM in the manner set out in the Sailing Instructions any time up until the warning signal prior to the scheduled start of the second race of the day, provided that the request is received in time, ACRM shall postpone the race and there will be no more racing that day. Each Competitor only has the right to make this request once."

Preview:
The aftermath of Sunday's racing is still echoing along the San Francisco waterfront.  USA's victory energized fans, teams, organizers, and (nearly all) of the media.  The vision of the 2013 America's Cup running on all 72-cylinders is powerful stuff.

Today's forecast will have a lot of energy, too, in the wind and the tides.  Breeze is expected to strong, from 18-22 knots, and could go higher, though precision in forecasting is a non-existent characteristic in San Francisco meteorology no matter who is doing it.  A strong flood tide, peaking near the start of Race 5 depending on the region of the course, will complicate starting tactics for the skippers.  Time spent downspeed in maneuvering will push them toward the pin end of the starting line.  That won't take a lot of edge off the aggression.  Jimmy Spithill and Oracle found they could put Dean Barker on his back foot on the way to winning Race 4 Sunday and are sure to be moving in ready to unleash more on him if they see an opportunity.

Oracle Team USA has also been closing the gap in average speeds upwind, downwind, and tacking, and may be ahead depending on how you interpret the polars.  See CupStats page for more details comparing the boats in Races 1 and 2 versus Races 3 and 4.

The numbers show the boats much closer in performance, on all points of sail.  When the match is this tight, the differences in crewwork  execution can loom greatly on the outcome.  Both teams had mistakes on Sunday, Oracle's just cost them less than they did ETNZ.  The teams have no substitutions today for crews, other than bringing Grant Dalton back onboard NZL, as he was for Races 1-2-3.

Oracle was out on the Bay Monday, training hard in wind conditions that trended into the upper 20's, utterly flying, a hawk among the Superyacht Cup fleet.  What they were learning is anybody's guess.  In Auckland, ETNZ braved winds 10-15 knots higher with their Boat #1, so that's not unknown territory for them either.  ETNZ spent the day in the boat shed, surely working something up.

The sense at the America's Cup is that everything has just been taken up a notch in the last two days.  You can see on an electronic screen that, yes, the boats are fast.  That captures nothing of the wow factor of two of them screaming into the finish line, crowd cheering, the challenger 7 seconds back, the series re-set from a sweep to a battle, and no idea now of what comes next.

The boats are getting faster.  Oracle's Day 2 gains are one thing.  Whether they've both found something more is another.



Photo:©2013 ACEA/Balazs Gardi

 

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Sunday, September 8 Races 3 and 4

 



Oracle Team USA showed a few things to TNZ in Race 4, like her transom.  Photo:©2013 ACEA/Gilles Martin-Raget
 

America's Cup Day 2: Races 3 and 4

Sunday's Program:
2 Match Races, Races 3 and 4.
Challenger vs. Defender
Emirates Team New Zealand vs. Oracle Team USA
ETNZ leads the series 2-0, first to 9 points wins match.
First start 1:15 pm, second start 2:15 pm PDT

Conditions:
Fog early in the day clearing.  Early prediction is winds 14 knots near start of Race 3, rising for Race 4.  High Tide 2:08-2:22pm across the course.  Max flood approximately 11:55, Slack water approximately 2:34pm.

Watch:
Live television broadcast on NBC at 4:00pm ET/1:00pm PT.  No live YouTube in USA during racing.  For more details, international coverage, and other options see: How to Watch

Also:
Check live wind and race data: VirtualEye Live Stats
Official Race Chatter and updates: @AmericasCupLive

Race 3:
Jimmy Spithill draws ETNZ away from the line, then gets back, both boats early, ETNZ little place to go and Oracle gets a slight jump getting away across the line.  It's neck and neck to the reaching mark, with Oracle able to stay just ahead of the bad wind off ETNZ's wing.  With enough overlap at the mark, Oracle gives ETNZ a luff and draws a penalty on the Kiwis. (Update: the penalty turns out to have been a miscue by the umpires and was cancelled after 1 second.  Both skippers say that they were never aware of the penalty being given.)  Oracle bears off into their first downwind lead on Leg 2.

Down the second leg, Oracle is maintaining their lead, the AC72's even.  Gybe from Oracle, matched by ETNZ.  Bottom gate coming up.

Oracle rounds, turning right.  ETNZ has one more gybe, rounds turning left.  The delta is 17 seconds, a 10-second gain for Oracle on the leg. 

Upwind Oracle comes across, looking to take the right and some protection from the flood current.  They cross well ahead of ETNZ.  After trading a few more short tacks to stay in the Alcatraz shadow, both set up on starboard tack.  ETNZ is making small but steady gains, perhaps pulling even, but will need to tack.

Oracle tacks too, to cover.  ETNZ will try to roll Oracle from behind as they come out of the tack down in speed.  The boats are dead even, side-by-side.  Oracle tacks away and tacks back, ETNZ can tack in front of them.  Now ETNZ is slightly ahead and to windward.  Again they trade tacks, coming off the left boundary Oracle has to tack short of ETNZ despite having what is normally starboard tack advantage.  ETNZ has position and control, Oracle can't get past.  The two continue on port tack.  Oracle getting a bit gassed, but staying put.  Getting to the top of the course. Oracle tacks to starboard.  ETNZ covers.  They go to the left boundary and tack on the layline back to port, lead maintaining.  Final downwind leg coming.  The delta at the top gate is 29 seconds.

Downwind, the wind is favoring ETNZ, minimizing tacks.  Oracle can do little but follow, and ETNZ will win Race 3!  The finish delta is 28.3 seconds, nearly a second closer than the 29.2 seconds at the upwind gate.

Oracle lost the race on the upwind leg, taking an extra tack, and sailing hundreds of meters further.  Tactics were half the story, with ETNZ exploiting the left-hand boundary to claim rights on port tack and force Oracle to tack below them and behind.  The upwind speed demonstration of ETNZ may prove to be the real takeaway, though.

 

 

Race 4:
Start scheduled for 2:15 pm PDT.  Slow for the line, again Oracle to leeward, TNZ to windward.  At the start, both boats get an even jump off the line, but Oracle finds an extra gear in clear air and the boat is screaming along.  TNZ cannot gain, cannot sail down to beat Oracle to the first mark.  Across the reaching leg Spithill drifts up, away from the mark, and holds Barker well past the mark before jibing away on his terms.

Downwind, Oracle is holding a 130m lead.  ETNZ flops a bit off their foils in a gybe, giving up a bit more.  Nearing the bottom gate, Oracle drops off foils, too, apparently a mistake with the foils, but USA rounds turning right, ETNZ following.  5 second margin at the bottom gate.  Upwind will be the test.

Early on the windward leg the Kiwis are right behind Oracle and getting gassed.  They tack to port and head for the right.

ETNZ comes back on starboard, Oracle can cross well in front, tacks ahead of ETNZ defending the left side of the course a bit, and ETNZ has to tack away.  Oracle heads out to the left again.   ETNZ doesn't want to stay right and goes back on port when they have a clear lane.

A few more tacks, and Oracle sets up for the starboard layline. TNZ will follow.  Can Oracle maintain their lead around the windward gate?

16 second lead for Oracle around the top.  Now for the final leeward.  They gained 1 second on this leg in the last race.  If all goes well, Oracle should take their first win. Margin is about 110m down the leg.  The boats tearing along at 40 knots and more.  Oracle adds another 10m. 

Oracle Team USA wins Race 4!  Delta is 7 seconds.  The boats were just ripping across the water at the finish.

Quotes of the Day:
James Spithill, Skipper, Oracle Team USA: There’s no secret that if you can get to that first mark in good shape, it can affect the outcome of the race and that’s something both teams put a lot of emphasis on.

Dean Barker, Skipper, ETNZ: Their time on distance at the start was pretty nice. I thought they might have been a bit late when they tacked but they managed to get back to the start line right on time, so they had a bit of momentum.

Read More Day 2 Quotes and Post-Race Report

Day 2 Preview:
Saturday's opening races showed that this could become a real battle, though Team New Zealand's two wins plus Oracle's 2 point penalty have ramped up the difficulty level for the Defender.  ETNZ needs 7 more wins while Oracle needs 11. 

Opinions vary wildly on who had the speed edge and where.  Some see ETNZ's big gain upwind in the second race as proof their boat is plain faster, others point out that Oracle did in fact pass ETNZ and instead tactics shaped Race 1's outcome where the defender might just as well have won.  Oracle might have been sailing with damage to their wing in Race 2, but then that's part of the competition, too.  Consensus is that the boats are very close downwind, at least among less partisan observers.  The more passionate ETNZ fans see the win totals, and the final delta in Race 2, and like their chances.  Excited Oracle Team USA saw their boat catch the Kiwis and make them work awfully hard for their points. 

The main issues for Race 3 and 4 turn to what else the teams can find in their tanks, with the wild card of what much lighter or stronger conditions might bring to bear on the match-up.  Both skippers will feel even more pressure to perform at the starts, which bordered on the dangerous yesterday. 

The boats are close enough that crew work can mean the race, and small mistakes at these speeds are all that's needed to lose a lead.



It was close racing nearly all day, with aggressive moves from Oracle and ETNZ both.
Photo:©2013 ACEA/Abner Kingman

 

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Saturday, September 7 Races 1 and 2


 Photo:©2013 ACEA/Gilles Martin-Raget
 

America's Cup Day 1: Races 1 and 2

Saturday's Program:
2 Match Races, Races 1 and 2.
Challenger vs. Defender
Emirates Team New Zealand vs. Oracle Team USA
First start 1:15 pm, second start 2:15 pm PDT

Conditions:
Winds 12 knots was the early prediction for Race 1, climbing possibly to 17 knots in time for Race 2.  With race time approaching, winds are already being reported at 17 knots on the course.  Sea breeze is fighting easterlies in the Bay, and winds today and Sunday may be atypical and hard to predict.  High Tide 1:34-1:48pm across the course.  Slack water approximately 2:00pm. Currents will be diminishing flood for Race 1 and very weak ebb for Race 2, with minimal impact on racing.  Wind limits of 23.9 to 22.5 were not expected to be a factor.

Watch:
Live television broadcast on NBC at 4:00pm ET/1:00pm PT.  No live YouTube in USA during racing.  For more details, international coverage, and other options see: How to Watch

Also:
Check live wind and race data: VirtualEye Live Stats
Official Race Chatter and updates: @AmericasCupLive
 

Race 1:
ETNZ on port, Oracle on starboard. Entry coming up.  Drag race timed start and hairy moments as Dean comes down meters in front of Jimmy approaching the 1st mark.  4-second lead to ETNZ, but both are fast.  It's 50m or less downwind as they trade gybes, foiling all the way.  Kiwis coming back and may be cutting the cross close.  one Slip and Oracle will have the lead, but ENTZ carries it with a frightening closing speed.  Kiwis leading still, just slightly with bottom gate coming.  It's a serious boat race.  4 second delta at Mark 2, Oracle round right on ETNZ tail.  USA-17 misses NZL by not more than inches.  Now for the upwind story. 

ETNZ on the left, Oracle on the right, both on starboard tack. ETNZ will hit the boundary and have to tack and try to cross Oracle.  Oracle will concede nothing and passes them.  Oracle Team USA now leading on Leg 3.  Oracle's turn to tack, and they cross ETNZ, this time by only a few meters, but still ahead.  Getting to the top half of the upwind leg, they come back together again, near the left-hand boundary, NZL on starboard.  ETNZ crosses and takes the lead back!

Oracle tries to tack back to shore, ETNZ tacks on top to cover, two lengths nearly direct ahead, in a reprise of the Slam Dunk maneuver.  Oracle can't live back there and tacks away, gain to ETNZ.  Now the set-up for the upwind gate.

ETNZ has a cover, and is gassing Oracle as they approach the gate.  The second and final downwind leg remains with the delta of 25 seconds to be overcome for Oracle.  They can't do it, the margin is 34 seconds at the bottom gate, and ETNZ wins Race 1 of the America's Cup!

Race 2:
Start at 2:15pm PT.  Oracle is checking possible damage to their wing.  Winds off slightly at 17.8 knots with 15 minutes to start.  Oracle has made repairs to their wing covering, appears ready to go.  Entry coming up.

Both boats are early for the line, ETNZ to windward, they head up, Spithill tries to hook Barker, with contact, but no penalties.  Spithill to leeward doesn't get a jump at the gun and ETNZ uses clear wind to pull ahead of Oracle by the reaching mark, 2 second delta.  Downwind it's close, with ETNZ leading after two gybes.  Lead is only a few lengths as they come into the leeward gate.  Both turn right and head inshore, 7-seconds apart.

Upwind, New Zealand is covering, staying between Oracle Team USA and the mark.  USA not making gains on the Kiwis, but hanging in as they work their way up the course playing the current on the left.  Lead is 200-250m.  ENTZ seems to gain on the tacks.  Oracle splits a bit, within the confines of the narrow course.  NZL stays in front, goes with Oracle when they tack to cover, and waits for the port layline to come, then tacks for the mark.  ETNZ heads off the wind, leaving few option for Oracle Team USA 46 seconds back, having lost 39 seconds on the leg.

Downwind, there is just nowhere to gain barring a breakdown on the leading boat.  ETNZ rounds the final mark and heads for the finish line. ETNZ goes up 2-0 in the America's Cup Match!  The finish delta was 52 seconds. 

ETNZ leads the America's Cup Match 2-0, with nine points needed to win the Trophy.  It's an even deeper hole than it looks for Oracle Team USA, since their first two wins will be wiped out because of penalties from the ACWS infractions handed down last week.  But the takeaway on all sides has to be that the boats are much more evenly matched than any previous AC72 racing.  A breathtaking Race 1 was a thorough rebuke to skeptics, and whetting appetites for more to come.

Read Day 1 Report from CupInfo

Glenn Ashby, Wing Trimmer, ETNZ: "We were certainly very much under pressure, as I'm sure JK (John Kostecki) and the boys were.  It's tight racing and it's hard you've got 11 guys that are all having to do their job extremely well."

"As we sort of thought the other day ... the racing going to be very close and the boats are evenly matched. For two boats coming from an entirely differing design phase and production, totally different set-ups, to have the racing so close is fantastic.  We certainly will be having some good battles over the next week or so.  The was some good racing today. Anything can happen."

Read more Quotes of the Day and Race Report from CupInfo

Protests:
Race 1: There were five "Y-flags", asking the umpires to penalize the other boat for a rules infraction.  Three requests from Oracle Team USA, two from Emirates Team New Zealand.  All were green-flagged by the Umpires, no penalties called. In Race 2, there was only one protest flag, flown by Oracle Team USA at the pre-start following apparent contact between yachts as USA tried to complete their hook of ETNZ, but again green-flagged.

CupStats:
Updated America's Cup Race 1 and 2 analysis with SOG and VMG polars, plus race-by-race statistical tables.
View CupStats

Day 1 Sights from the water: Photo Gallery

 

Race Preview:
It’s here! The 2013 America’s Cup, the vision of giant wingsail catamarans, now transformed into foiling flying 50-mph beasts that awe their creators, stun the spectators, and command the sailors' complete respect.  Some said this day would never come, some in the City of San Francisco or in the Cup world tried to keep it from coming, amid a mini-industry of honest skeptics, heartfelt traditionalists, and the just plain mean and myopic trying hard not to enjoy a boat race they’ve never seen, which might be some sort of commentary on the diminished world outside the Cup more than the historic regatta itself.  Two of the most advanced racing craft on the water are going to meet for the most historic, most famous, and most difficult to win trophy in sailing.

The 34th defense is here.  Oracle Team USA won the Cup a scant 43 months ago, brought it home to the City by the Bay, and now the New Zealanders are here to take it back.  If they can, that is, but they are sure going to try.  They launched the first AC72, foiled the first AC72, built another for the Italians, were first to launch a second AC72, foiled that one too, swept the Louis Vuitton Cup except for one DSQ.  In the process, the tough, practical, and hardened ETNZ has taken on the aura of an irresistible force.  When Luna Rossa began breathing down the Kiwis neck upwind in the Louis Vuitton Cup Final, the New Zealand boat Aotearoa did everything except utter the Road Runner’s “Meep-Meep” as it took off to parts unknown.  Dean Barker and Grant Dalton and their boys likely have a whole deck of cards still up their sleeves, and they’ve been upgrading at every chance. 

They face a vast yacht-racing industrial complex. Oracle Team USA as the defender had to be their own competition over the summer, and so was the only 2013 team to sail two boats at once, bringing in four-time Olympian Ben Ainslie to give James Spithill all he could.  Oracle’s boats sprout uncountable trick bits, backed by an incredible array of real-time analysis and real-time brain power.  The basic shapes were honed in all the countless virtual regattas that their computers could run, and both actual boats have been pounding the water together since June.  They have the resources of a local expert like John Kostecki as tactician, and the oversight of Russell Coutts, both an engineer and sailor, who’s been behind every winning America’s Cup program since 1995.  It’s unlikely that any resources Oracle Team USA wanted, Russell and Larry didn’t provide.  Well, except for the one thing no America’s Cup program ever has too much of, namely time.

The Defense comes down to three things.  The first is speed.  If one team has it and the other doesn’t, almost nothing else matters.  That’s nothing new and was the story in 1995 and 2000 with an untouchable Kiwi boat, and even 1964 when the British Sovereign lost one race by 20 minutes.  A little boat speed will make you famous, a certain Kiwi once said, and it certainly did.  The great anticipation of the America’s Cup is that nobody knows the answer to that until the first downwind leg.  The limited comparisons available so far just aren’t enough to know.  Oracle may have some sense how they compare to what ETNZ showed in the Louis Vuitton Cup, but nobody except ETNZ knows ETNZ’s potential and nobody but Oracle knows Oracle’s. 

Oracle’s been hoping that the differences show USA faster upwind, but both sides have been playing smoke and mirrors since before the boats were launched.  With only one upwind leg, and two downwind legs, there isn’t room to concede a large margin anywhere, no matter how fast you can make it up in the other direction.

If the boats are close, or at least have asymmetrical advantages and disadvantages, then we’ll have a heck of a boat race on our hands. 

The second component after speed is likely crew work.  The demands on the AC72 are enormous, and a jibe that drops the boat off the foils might as well be a penalty.  True mistakes might be even more costly.

Part three is dependability.  Can either boat make it through 9 to 11 races without failures?  That might not decide the regatta, but it’s put teams on the ropes when they should have had a fighting chance, TNZ’s hopes slipping down the drain in 2003 with a breakage and then a dismasting still forming indelible images for those who watched it.  Even the historic Australia II risked not lifting the America’s Cup in 1983, fighting early gear damage as did Liberty in the final losing race.

After the first three issues, tactics then enter into the picture in two main categories: The start and the rest of the race.  Sailors are hardwired to agress each other at the start, and the adrenaline of an America’s Cup Match plus testosterone can be hard to resist.  Still, it’s an enormously risky roll of the dice, the reward of a 5 to 15-second jump at the first mark, versus the risk that damage or a penalty brings something much worse.  Nobody’s managed to win an AC72 race at the start yet.

Tactics come into play if the boats are close.  But the narrow course takes away many of the macro options on the upwind leg.  The biggest opportunities are in the approaches to the marks and the roundings where minimizing tacks and gybes can add up quickly. 

We’ll know something by Mark 1, when the boats bear off from the reach to downwind, and we’ll know a heck of a lot by the end of that second leg.  The biggest reveal may be on the upwind, when the differential advantages may show themselves.  It won’t necessarily show the whole story of the Cup, but it will say a lot about what everybody’s been up to for the last three years, and what they’ve accomplished.

And none of that should get lost in the noise.  These boats are incredible, and do what many experts thought wasn’t even possible.  Sailing them has stretched the sailors, the shore crews, the designers, and everyone else involved.  History will be soon made today in one form or another.  Let’s Regatta!

 

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