San Francisco and sailing enthusiasts all over the United States are still reeling over the great comeback of Oracle Team USA defeating the Emirates Team New Zealand and retaing the coveted America’s Cup trophy.
And that is exactly what the team did. They did not let up, opening up a lead to 44 seconds in a race that early on had found them behind their challengers.
Team Oracle who began the series with a two point deficit, had lost eight of the first eleven races, morale was down, and it looked like it was all but over. Under the leadership of Skipper Jimmy Spithill, the team had to do something. The boats were pretty well evenly matched. It was a matter of who could work the hardest to get the most out of the 72 foot catamarans.
It looked like the Oracle team was going to be defeated handily; then tactician John Kostecki, a Bay Area native, was replaced by four-time Olympic medalist Ben Ainslie. That risky change turned out to be a smart move.
The real turning point may have been when race 12 was cancelled due to winds exceeding the race limits. The Kiwis were poised to take race 12; the score was 8 to 1.
But Team Oracle wasn’t giving up. They were going to prove that as the old saying goes, it’s not over until the fat lady sings. In an amazing comeback, Skipper Spithill took the next seven races, paving the way for the ultimate test – the showdown.
The final race of the series, Oracle’s boat did a nose dive allowing the Kiwis to move to the lead, but Spithill fought back and through an incredible team effort, Larry Ellison’s group of sailors were able to pull ahead and open up a lead crossing the finish line ahead of the challengers and retaining that prized trophy.
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