Well, it’s probably NOT too early to start thinking about the next America’s Cup.
With the Emirates New Zealand Team now up by 5 wins, needing only 4 more to wind up the series, it is basically a WIN for the Kiwi Team. Oracle has won but one race, losing soundly in each of the others. None of the Kiwi wins have been close, and there is little that will change over the remainder of races.
So, question one: Venue? The Kiwis will choose a New Zealand venue, and will possibly have government assistance in putting on the next AC.
Question two: Boats? With the expense of the current boats (AC72’s), there is little chance of their returning to sail in the next Cup. The Kiwis will choose a vessel to their design and preferences. The jury is still out on mono vs catamaran. There is no doubt that the cats provide a level of excitement never before encountered in the previous Cups. This will be a question of campaign costs coupled with spectator accommodations. This year, the proximity to the shore allowed hundreds of thousands of people to experience the speeding boats closer than ever before.
As to what happened on this round of the AC, theories abound.
Was it lack of competition for Oracle? Under the current format, the Defender never gets a real taste of racing until the finals. The Challengers honed and improved skills from the beginning of the Louis Vuitton Cup. Every Vuitton Cup Race gave the Kiwis a competitive opportunity, challenging them to improve daily.
Was if overconfidence? Probably not, since the Oracle Crew was training diligently whenever it was possible to be on the water.
Was it the penalty incurred from the illegal boat modifications of the Oracle AC 45’s? Again, probably not. But Oracle did lose their Wingsail trimmer in the penalty, in addition to having practice days reduced prior to the Finals.
Was it basic boat design? It was apparent from Race 1 that the Kiwi boat was superior upwind. And, the Kiwi’s were modifying their boat within the rules right up to the start or Race 1.
Was it tactics during the Races? Probably not, since it appeared over the first 6 Races only one gross tactical error occurred on the US boat.
The final result: It appears to come down that the Kiwi boat was simply faster. And history has shown us that the faster boat wins America’s Cups.