Groundhog Day at the 34th America’s Cup

Published on September 12th, 2013

San Francisco, CA (September 12, 2013) – It was during the racing today at the 34th America’s Cup when broadcast commentator Todd Harris made the observation that it was starting to look like “Groundhog Day”.

Whether people picked up on the comment depends on if this 1993 film starring Bill Murray – a weather man doomed to repeat the same day over and over again – was on your radar 20 years ago.

As defender Oracle Team USA lost both races today, with some similarities as their previous four losses, the quote by Murray as weatherman Phil Connors came to mind: “Well, what if there is no tomorrow? There wasn’t one today.”

The American team sought out to make a new day today, replacing tactician John Kostecki with 5-time Olympic medalist Ben Ainslie. But unfortunately for Ainslie and the team, they still had to race against the challenger Emirates Team New Zealand. Here is how the day went…

Race 6: Oracle Team USA skipper “Jesse James Spitfire” completely smoked Kiwi skipper Dean Barker at the start, amassing the biggest lead any team had yet held at mark one. But a mistake in the American team’s approach to the leeward gate allowed for a split, giving the Kiwis leverage and the favored side to begin the upwind leg. That’s all they needed to make the pass by Alcatraz Island, and control the tempo for a 46 second win. Full report

Race 7: If the America’s Cup defender Oracle Team USA was demoralized in their loss of the sixth race, challenger Emirates Team New Zealand fully deflated their spirits in the seventh race. The Kiwis won the start, led the pair down the run, forced the American team to follow around the leeward gate, and put on an impressive display of strategy and speed upwind. Final delta was 65 seconds. Said broadcast commentator Ken Read, “When you are this fast, it’s really fun being a tactician.” Full report

The scorecard is now heavily favored toward the Kiwi team. They have won 6 races, and need only 3 more wins to take the Cup. For the American, their number remains at 10 wins. At the post race press conference, Jimmy Spithill responded to the question about the pressure his team must now feel.

“I think the question is, imagine if these guys (Kiwis) lost from here. What an upset that would be. They’ve almost got it in the bag. So that’s my motivation. That would be one heck of a story. That would be one heck of a comeback, and that’s the kind of thing that I would like to be apart of. I speak on behalf of the whole team; that’s our motivation going into the rest of this series. We feel we’ve got just as much chance to win this and we will do everything we can.”

Racing resumes Saturday with races 8 and 9, with race 10 and 11 (if necessary) on Sunday.

Seven Completed Races – First team to 9 Points Wins
Emirates Team New Zealand: 6
Oracle Team USA: -1*
* Began series with -2 points due to International Jury penalty from AC World Series.

America’s Cup Final schedule
Saturday, Sept. 7: Race 1 (1:15 pm PT), Race 2 (2:15 pm PT)
Sunday, Sept. 8: Race 3 (1:15 pm PT), Race 4 (2:15 pm PT
Tuesday, Sept. 10: Race 5 (1:15 pm PT), Race 6 (2:15 pm PT); Race 6 postponed
Thursday, Sept. 12: Race 6 (1:15 pm PT), Race 7 (2:15 pm PT)
Saturday, Sept. 14: Race 8 (1:15 pm PT), Race 9 (2:15 pm PT)
Sunday, Sept. 15: Race 10 (1:15 pm PT), Race 11* (2:15 pm PT)
Monday, Sept. 16: Race 12* (1:15 pm PT)
Tuesday, Sept. 17: Race 13* (1:15 pm PT), Race 14* (2:15 pm PT)
Wednesday, Sept. 18: Reserve Day
Thursday, Sept. 19: Race 15* (1:15 pm PT), Race 16* (2:15 pm PT)
Friday, Sept. 20: Reserve Day
Saturday, Sept. 21: Race 17* (1:15 pm PT)
Sunday, Sept. 22: Reserve Day
Monday, Sept. 23: Reserve Day
(*If necessary)

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