It's winner take all tomorrow in San Francisco's 34th America's Cup race. Today, Oracle Racing blew away their competitors again with 2 more wins against Emirates New Zealand. Racing at speeds of over 43 knots, the 75 foot catamaran yachts swept down the waterfront in high winds and a flood tide, blasting through race speed records to the delight of onlookers.
In the first race of the day, Oracle was nearly run off the starting line by Emirates, but turned it back on the Kiwis by coming back at them. This put the Kiwis in position to make way, and instead the two nearly collided, causing a penalty for New Zealand. In a heartbeat, Oracle flew past and gained a 15 second lead at the first turn. Oracle held their lead through the entire race, putting the Kiwis in jeopardy of losing the Cup in yet another race.
Race two was little better, with a neck-and-neck race that ultimately fell to the American Oracle Racing Team. Winds again carried Oracle's AC72 at over 44 knots, and both boats were high on their racing foils, making for stupendous speeds and thrilling, on the edge racing. Emirates hit a blazing 46 knots in Race 17. See slide show for today's highlights.
At the end of the day, the Oracle and Emirates are at 8 versus 8, with only one race remaining in a winner-take-all fight to the finish. Reuters news reports that even Oracle CEO Larry Ellison was so excited after the amazing turnaround by his team, that he skipped his own annual OpenWorld Conference event.
Oracle Corp CEO Larry Ellison skipped a keynote address at his software company's massive annual customer conference on Tuesday to be on San Francisco Bay as his Oracle Team USA made a comeback in the America's Cup. Hundreds of Oracle OpenWorld attendees streamed out of San Francisco's Moscone conference center after an Oracle executive announced that Ellison was still on a boat and would not attend the keynote presentation, a focal point of the annual event.
America's Cup sailing is a major passion for Ellison, rivaled only by his focus on expanding what is already the world's third-largest software maker.
Last week, Ellison was absent from Oracle's quarterly earnings conference call with analysts so that he could be close to the racing, which the sailing enthusiast has been viewing from a team speedboat.
Hotels in San Francisco are packed with race fans and Oracle devotees, but by this weekend, they should be less crowded. Check out hotels in Marin and Oakland for better rates, then take a ferry to the waterfront.
If you want to see the the amazing race finish, tomorrow is definitely the day to be at Pier 43 and the AC Village. Bring binoculars and check out those team assist vessels, perhaps you'll see Mr. Ellison himself. See the links below for tips on where to see the race, and for links to the America's Cup schedule, including the victory party.