The 35th America's Cup Final - Day's 1 & 2

in #steemsports7 years ago


SteemSports Presenter: @sportsdesk


SteemSports Editor: Nolan Jacobson, @theprophet0, STEEM Witness & PeerPlays Witness.


So, having progressed through the challenger series of races, we have now reached the pinnacle of the 35th America’s cup, the best of thirteen series between defender and top challenger for the oldest trophy in international sport. This sees Oracle Team USA (defender) take on Team New Zealand (challenger) on Bermuda’s Great Sound, the rematch the yachting world has most anticipated since TNZ blew an 8-1 lead over Oracle to lose 8-9 in the 34th America’s cup held off San Fransisco.
Oracle Team USA - ironically manned mostly by Australians, being the holders got to write the rules and conditions for this, the 35th sailing for the America’s Cup. Having written themselves into qualifying rounds for the first time in cup history, they then pulled a late change to allow organised practice racing among the syndicates prior to the event - knowing TNZ would be missing due to their late arrival. Oracle have also allowed themselves a second boat for the final while TNZ are only allowed one boat. Can TNZ overcome the stacked Oracle deck? The rumour mills are rampant that Oracle may ram the kiwi boat at the first opportunity thus ending their challenge. Or will Oracle rely on the fact that in a 13 race series, with TNZ starting on -1, they only need to win 6 races whereas TNZ are required to win 8?
Day one of final’s racing presented light wind conditions at 7-10 knots. In race one, Oracle immediately received a penalty for being over the start line early. TNZ take advantage of this early mistake and are absolutely flying to be 32 sec ahead by gate two. The faster speed of the kiwi boat – both upwind and downwind, combined with slick manoeuvres, allowed them to extend their lead to 2min by gate six. However, a poor gybe following gate six allowed Oracle to significantly reduce the gap, but in the end it was all in vain as TNZ cyclors (cycling grinders) got the boat back on its foils and they crossed the finish 30 sec ahead.
In race two, Oracle were much more aggressive at the start but TNZ held their ground and better boat speed allowed them to roll over Oracle on the reach to gate one. TNZ extended their lead in dominating fashion over the next three legs to be ahead at gate 4 by 1 min 35 sec. However shifty winds on the second upwind leg allowed Oracle to make some spectacular gains, such that they rounded gate five right on TNZ’s stern. However all their good work was almost immediately undone with a poor tack early on leg six forced them off their foils and TNZ with afterburners on sailed off for an earlier shower to comfortably win by 1 min 28 sec.
At the end of day one, Oracle needed to dig deep in their box of tricks to come up with an answer for the kiwis speed. They’d take heart that the shifty and puffy conditions in light winds allowed for significant gains to be made but equally a single mistake can then quickly erode those gains. Oracle’s first aim on day two would be just to round a mark, any mark, ahead of the kiwis. TNZ would be pretty happy with their day’s work but would analyse where mistakes were made and you’d expect them to come out stronger tomorrow. TNZ ended day one of racing 1-0 up, and more importantly having lost twice to Oracle in the qualifying series, they had now beaten them twice in one day.

Entering day two, both teams needed to win 6 races to retain/claim the Auld Mug. Can fast-talking Jimmy Spithill and the boys on Oracle reverse the form of yesterday and halt the kiwi dominance? Conditions were once again light in the 10-12 knot range. Oracle had opted for their high speed boards while TNZ retained their multi-purpose boards. Oracle were expected to be much more competitive with this setup in these conditions.
Race one was close over the first two legs as TNZ held a slender lead. However by gate 3 the kiwis had pushed the lead out to 32 sec, aided by another Oracle error which saw them have to make an additional tack to round gate three. TNZ took off and were well ahead by gate 5, but then there was a heart-stopping moment for kiwi fans as the two boats almost collided. Oracle was still coming down the fifth leg while TNZ were heading down the sixth leg. A collision was only averted at the last moment but as it turned out, this would be the closest the Oracle boat got to TNZ. The kiwis headed off over the horizon, creating a lead in excess of 600m to win by 49 sec. TNZ led all through marks and continue to be impossible to chase down once they’re in the lead.
It was another brilliant start for the flying kiwis in race two as they won the start again and rounded gate one ahead. In the pre-start the kiwis had appeared to have stopped suddenly at one point, Oracle failed to capitalise on this error, and if there were any problems with the TNZ boat it wasn’t apparent. On the first upwind leg after having established a commanding lead, TNZ appeared to be having fun with Oracle by throwing in extra tacks to bring the boats closer together, and then sailing off again with their superior boat speed. By gate three TNZ held a dominating 43 sec lead. On the fifth leg the kiwis once again showed their upwind dominance, throwing in extra tacks and still extending their lead to be ahead by 1 min by gate five. In the end, TNZ were comparatively in another solar system such was their lead of 1100m at one point, and Oracle relatively limped home to finish behind by 1 min 12 sec. This was probably the most dominating race to date by the kiwis in the final series. Oracle helmsman, the normally upbeat and cocky Jimmy Spithill, cut a forlorn figure on the way back to dock.
TNZ’s operation is currently as slick as the Gulf of Mexico during the Deepwater Horizon disaster in 2010. They have climbed an incredibly steep learning curve since arriving in Bermuda and now it is Oracle with the mountain to climb. They will be hoping Larry Ellison’s billions can either rewrite the rules (again) to prevent kiwis competing, or “legally” improve their boat speed and performance over the next few days. Or have they simply just brought a knife to a very large gunfight? Oracle have the biggest flag flying on Bermuda’s Great Sound but come a week’s time will it be at half-mast? The flying nation of kiwis are not just doing it on water either – overnight two kiwi drivers took out the Le Mans 24 hour car endurance race. So looking ahead, can Oracle pull a very large rabbit out of an even bigger hat or will the America’s cup once again become New Zealand’s cup? We’ll be back in 5 days for the completion of racing in this, the 35th edition of the America’s Cup.
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A very stressful sport, driving at high speed and need special skills in order to become a champion like your team, while having to race with other competitors also have to race with wind and waves at sea. I congratulate your team hopefully can be a champion in the following years.

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Need big heart for dis sport

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What is it called?

Best of Luck for a victorious finish!

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I remeber when Ted Turner won, what a day, and old Ted was drunk as a skunk!

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Thank you very much for this post. I have followed and upvoted, please do the same thing for me to help each other.

Wow, those races are going back and forth! I'm excited to see who's going to pull out the win. I believe Oracle can get back in it, but they have to be cautious about those penalties and take their time. The thing about these races is it's anyone's game. Thanks for the updates :)

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