Well, it certainly is something ... unexpected ... isn’t it?
One week ago, just about everyone (OK, myself included) figured Team Oracle for a goner. They just didn’t seem to have anything going for themselves. They couldn’t tack the boat, they sucked upwind, their strategy and tactics for the races were, well, less than adequate. New Zealand was on a roll. One win away. A certainty. A sure thing. It was in the bag.
Only somebody forgot to give Oracle the Memo.
And they wrote their own. “Note to self: Win races. One at a time.”
Sure enough, Oracle got THAT memo. And has been marching all over New Zealand since. Well, almost. Let’s not forget the humongous lead ETNZ had in the “no wind” race. Oh. My. Gods. A time limit cancellation? Really? How lucky can Oracle get? A 1,200 yard lead, blown away (or, I guess, not blown since there was no wind). And then, again, the Wind Gods conspired -- this weekend. Who ordered the freak storm, that only lasted long enough to interfere with the race itself. Winds from the South. For about two and a half hours. But the right two and a half hours.
Did it make a difference? Who knows?
OK. OK. OK. Let’s take a look at Sunday’s racing. Good breeze. A flood tide (an Oracle nemeses...so far).
And Spithill schooled Barker on the starts. Both of them. In fact, Spithill has smoked Barker on just about every start. I’d bet ETNZ is looking at films tonight. Again. Trying to figure out how to win a start. And if they do, that’s going to be the key.
Or it might not. After all, now that the infamous third leg is no longer the third rail for Oracle, even if ETNZ win’s a start, Oracle might catch them on that upwind leg. Which presumes Oracle (traditionally faster down-wind) hasn’t already caught them by gate 2.
Is New Zealand out of it? Oh, HELL NO. Has momentum shifted. You Betcha.
One more for New Zealand, Five more for Oracle. It is still a HUGE deficit to overcome.
But, do more believe it CAN be done now, than believed last week? Or even this weekend. Yup.
Monday will be a most interesting day.