Harken Derm

Kiwis sweep first day of the 34th America’s Cup

Published on September 7th, 2013

San Francisco, CA (September 7, 2013) – While the first race of the 34th America’s Cup between defender Oracle Team USA and challenger Emirates Team New Zealand provided passes and protests, the second race provided a stunning display of Kiwi superiority.

Following the first race win by the Kiwis, there was some uncertainty if there would be a second race. The Americans had incurred film damage to their wing, but were able to sufficiently repair it to proceed. Each team can elect to postpone the second race during the series, but they can only do so once, and the Americans were not willing to use this card so soon in the match.

With winds averaging 17 knots, it was the American’s turn to enter the staring box from the port end. As they did in the first race, the Americans sought the leeward position in hopes of controlling the Kiwis from behind. As the Americans pushed the Kiwis toward the start line, they gave the Kiwis a tight luff. But when the umpires waved off, the Americans were momentarily caught head to wind. With time running short, the Kiwis could accelerate better and jumped to a two second lead at the start.

“We were just able to stay just forward on them (during the luff),” explained Kiwi tactician Ray Davies. “It was a touch and go moment, and proved to be pretty much the race.”

The Kiwis carried their lead around mark one, building the delta to 100 meters as the teams traded gybes down the run. The Americans followed the Kiwis at the leeward mark, and could bear no effective moves on the upwind leg (leg three). As it appeared in the first race, the Kiwis look to be quicker through the tack, with the Americans falling further behind as they sought to split from their cover.

With the Kiwis now holding a 300 meter lead at the weather mark, the Americans were out of answers, ultimately losing by 52 seconds.

“Today wasn’t the result that we wanted,” shared American skipper Jimmy Spithill. “I think the boats are very equal, and the boys did a good job onboard. We were a little surprised as we felt the Kiwis were going to get a penalty at the start, but it didn’t happen, and then we weren’t able to accelerate as well as they did. It was pretty hard to come back as they didn’t make any mistakes after that. But the boats are very close, and tomorrow is another day.”

Races three and four are scheduled for Sunday, September 8.

Click here for complete race stats.

Click here for all race reports.

First team to 9 Points
Emirates Team New Zealand: 2
Oracle Team USA: -2*

* Began series with -2 points due to International Jury penalty from AC World Series.

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