Kiwis take first race of the America’s Cup
Published on September 7th, 2013
San Francisco, CA (September 7, 2013) – After over three years of planning, and two months of challenger trials, the 34th America’s Cup began today between defender Oracle Team USA and challenger Emirates Team New Zealand. And for any of the naysayers who doubted that multihulls could provide a riveting spectacle, that was quickly put to rest as the teams began their first race on the five leg course.
With the teams entering the start box at 38 knots (Kiwis selected port entry), the Americans opted for the leeward position off the line. But the Kiwis, with a one second advantage off the line, were able to drive over and in front to lead at mark one. The Americans kept it close on the downwind leg, rounding on the heels of the Kiwis at the leeward mark.
Nearly every close encounter resulted in a protest request, mostly from the Americans, but they were all waived off by the umpires. This trend continued on the first weather leg (leg 3) where an honest match race broke out. After the Americans snatched the lead, the Kiwis soon took it back, demonstrating a possible advantage in tacking as they covered the defender.
With a 25 second advantage at the weather mark, the Kiwis soon extended, building a 500 meter lead on the second downwind leg, turning the corner at the leeward mark for the fifth leg to the finish where the Kiwis claimed the first race by 36 seconds.
Both teams were in full foiling mode in winds that averaged 17 knots. “What we say was a helluva race,” said Kiwi skipper Dean Barker. “But it is still too early to speak about advantages.”
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First team to 9 Points
Emirates Team New Zealand: 1
Oracle Team USA: -2*
* Began series with -2 points due to International Jury penalty from AC World Series.