America's Cup defender ORACLE TEAM USA won again against challenger Emirates Team New Zealand for the second day in a row, Jimmy Spithill's team giving as good as they get and rising to the occasion. The races looked close often, hull to hull, with each team foiling that close. They almost seemed to take turn being the leader over the ten mile course, which took each team about 22 minutes.
Spithill put to rest those concerns about the switch of veteran tactician and San Francisco Bay Area native John Kostecki with young Benny Ainslee, the newly knighted Brit and four time Olympic gold medal winner.
Some will still argue that taking tactician John Kostecki off the boat will cost ORACLE TEAM USA the Cup and that Ainslee is not a tactician but Spithill is putting to rest doubts about the switch. Spithill's astounding win yesterday looks less like a fluke arising from ETNZ's heart-stopping near-capsize in the finals. If the boat had teetered on one hull just a half a degree more it would have flipped on its side, which would have lost the race for the Kiwis and probably the America's Cup as well as their only boat. Even calm and cool 40 year old skipper Dean Barker said mirthfully ETNZ had been in that position lots of times in the AC45s in the World Series but up to that point not yet in the AC72.
No wonder the races look so close, f you look at the race statistics. Each boat in race nine had the same average and top speed, 36 mph and 49 mph although with slight differences if one measures by knots. The two even tacked the same number of times in race 9, eight times. NZ, which lost, gybed eight times and ORACLE TEAM USA only gybed six.
Race ten, won by ETNZ by 16 seconds, shows virtually the same statistics for the two finalists as well. ETNZ raced an average speed one mph or one knot faster than ORACLE TEAM USA, 37/36 mph. ORACLE actually showed the faster top speed, 52 mph while NZ topped out at 49. Each team tacked and gybed 7 times. ETNZ traveled one tenth of a mile further.
Most of the action continues to take place near the start and the Golden Gate Bridge, where the finalists jockey for position going over the line. The finalists continue to take separate corners of the course on the leeward end, ETNZ continuing to go north once it passes Alcatraz and the cone, a triangle of little current or wind. One goes north, the other goes south, so ORACLE TEAM USA continues to go along the shoreline and the waterfront where the current weakens. The teams then approach each other dueling on the way back toward the Golden Gate Bridge.
Spithill picked his days for glory and the rise of the underdog that he said ORACLE TEAM USA has been, winning before 50,000 fans on site Saturday and 35,000 Sunday. The winds have been high and the second race was threatened today but the race was only delayed slightly not cancelled.
Just who is the underdog remains subjective as ETNZ also appears to be a David and Goliath story of a small tightly knit pair of islands (get it--the place has more sheep than humans) whose life is the water, against an international corporation and a billionaire. ETNZ gets funding from the government and the government has stated publicly that the money won't be given so readily unless ETNZ wins.
San Francisco is six million in debt from this venture.
The daily poster signings seem to getting more and more popular as the team members and fans meet face to face, getting team caps and jerseys signed as well as the free posters. Children came with faces and arms painted with ocean designs or the NZ fern. Grinder Chris Ward posed with a trio of children each one in a fuzzy kiwi hat.
One man brought a laptop to sign, another brought a sketch of the AC72 to sign, one woman asked NZ grinder Winston MacFarlane for a kiss. He smiled, obliged, she took his face in her hands and he was soon turning bright red. Check out the slideshow.
Note once again the team members look spectacular, the grinders especially strong and muscular. Blue eyes shine, faces full of healthy color. Clean shaven. Inspirational in many ways. Ignore those pasty headshots on the website. ;)
Racing resumes Tuesday, September 17 at 1:15.
For more information: www.AmericasCup.com
Check out youth sailing around the Bay at www.SailSFBay.org, particularly the 75 year old program on Oakland’s Lake Merritt.
The America’s Cup pavillion is along the Embarcadero before Fisherman's Wharf and is an easy walk, pedicab ride, bike ride or Muni ride from the ferry building and Embarcadero BART. The village and grandstands are at Marina Green.
For more stories by this writer check out CBS San Francisco's website under Eye on the Bay, San Francisco arts & culture "Best Of"; and San Francisco Arts & Culture on Examiner.com. Subscribe by hittng the SUBSCRIBE button at the top of this article.
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