Harken Derm

34th America’s Cup: Clock wins one race, defender wins the other

Published on September 20th, 2013

San Francisco, CA (September 20, 2013) – For the second day, challenger Emirates Team New Zealand needed just one more win to take the 34th America’s Cup Match. And for nearly the entire length of race 13, it looked like it would happen today for the Kiwis.

But with the “made for television” packaging of the event, resulting in a 40 minute time limit rule, the race was abandoned as the Kiwis held a 1200 meter lead, with just over 1nm remaining.

Despite boat speeds up to 20 knots, it would not be enough to complete the track. “It’s a pretty ridiculous rule, it being only 40 minutes,” observed Chris Draper, helm of challenger Luna Rossa.

Some days there is too much wind; other days too little. For the defender, they clearly caught a break. “It’s better to be lucky than good,” admitted Oracle Team USA tactician Ben Ainslie. “We were staring down the barrel of defeat, but thankfully the time limit came into play.”

“It is a bit of a shame, but the positive is that we seem to be sailing well in these conditions and the crew work is going really well,” said Kiwi tactician Ray Davies.

The wind, which had lingered at 8 knots, was now up to 12 knots for the do-over. The Kiwis held the port entry again, fought off a late hook attempt by defender Oracle Team USA, and blasted off the start line with 4 second lead.

The Kiwis quickly extended to a 160 meter lead, both teams able to carry a long starboard gybe down the shoreline with the wind angle coming off the land. But that wind angle contributed to spotty conditions on the run, and the defender made the most of it to lead in their approach to the leeward mark.

The challenger cut the lead just before the turn, but the defender nicely controlled the game, forcing the challenger into two slow gybes that sealed their fate. “Benny (Ainslie) made a great call at the bottom gate, and that was the race right there,” Spithill said.

The skewed course limited the openings for the next lap, and the defender carried on to a 1:23 minute lead.

“It was a really frustrating day, to be honest,” shared Kiwi skipper Dean Barker.”It was disappointing to be that close (in the first race). We are sailing well enough, but it just came down to a few meters at the bottom gate (of the re-sailed race). Unfortunately that was the difference. It was really frustrating.”

“Some times a couple things go your way, and we’ve got to take it,” admitted Spithill. “We are in a position where we have to take those things. It was just a fantastic race for the guys.”

Click here for complete race stats.
Click here for all race reports.

Thirteen Completed Races – First team to 9 Points Wins
Emirates Team New Zealand: 8
Oracle Team USA: 3*
* Began series with -2 points due to International Jury penalty from AC World Series.

America’s Cup Final schedule
Saturday, Sept. 21: Race 14 (1:15 pm PT), Race 15* (2:15 pm PT)
Sunday, Sept. 22: Race 16* (1:15 pm PT), Race 17* (2:15 pm PT)
Monday, Sept. 23: Race 18* (1:15 pm PT), Race 19* (2:15 pm PT)
(*If necessary)

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