2013 AMERICA’S CUP FINALS: The Writing on the Wall

AC Final Race 5

I was going to blog about the Cup again after watching race 4 on Sunday and planned to cheerfully announce how wrong I was in my last post on the subject. I am an optimist at heart, and I was ready to drink all the Kool-Aid in sight after watching Oracle finally beat Emirates Team New Zealand in a fair fight. I recalled the 2004 ALCS between the Red Sox and Yankees, and how I was chatting with my best Sox buddy right after the Yanks went up three games to zip in the series. “You know what,” I said to him, as the marvelous premonition of what was about to happen swept over me. “I think we have them right where we want them.”

And, of course, I was right…

'04 Sox win headline

I was trying very hard to have that premonition again. I tried to imagine the impossible becoming probable: Oracle coming back against all odds, in spite of being docked two races for cheating, in spite of losing their second most important crew member, in spite of losing the first three final races. Etc. etc. etc.

But then I thought I better watch race 5 before writing anything.

And presumably you know how that went.

ETNZ racing

Big f**king winners

Oracle racing

Big f**king losers

I will say I am glad I was wrong in one respect: in the end the closest racing in these boats has come in the finals, which is how it should be. I will watch all remaining races with great interest, as should you all. Never before in the history of sailing have we been able to watch one 72-foot yacht traveling at 30-40 knots luff up hard at close quarters into another yacht of the same species, running at the same speeds, in a short round-the-buoys race.

If you don’t think that’s interesting or exciting, then you obviously have misplaced your brain somewhere.

I also have two suggestions: 1) if I were Larry Ellison I would interrogate all my paid employees closely until I found out exactly who did what in this AC World Series cheating scandal, then I would personally dismember all guilty parties and throw their body parts in the bay; and 2) if I were the Kiwis I’d insist that all cheating sanctions against Oracle be removed, just to keep things interesting a little while longer.

Meanwhile, whether suggestion no. 2 is seized upon or not, my previous offer re taking any odds that the Kiwis will win still stands.

For those who have missed any races so far, here’s a video archive:

Races 1 & 2

Races 3 & 4

Race 5

(All still AC pix above are by Chuck Lantz)

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3 Responses
  1. Alex D

    Call me old school but I can’t for the life of me get excited about this series. At least the Kiwis suggested that they may take it back to monohulls. They may as well be racing powerboats running from side to side to come around a mark. The very essence of the race was lost when these ultra sophisticated designs where adopted and in the process they lost the ability to connect with the the average sailer who beer can races Wednesday nights.

  2. Charlie

    @Alex D: Have you watched these races? These are honest-to-God sailboat match races, not just powerboats drag racing. Sure one boat is a bit faster than the other, but that was pretty common in monohull Cup racing. What exactly would you describe as “the very essence of the race”??? charlie

  3. Alex D

    The rig never changes at least in the races I’ve watched. There’s no error in sail changes there’s no bad or good sets there’s just board up and board down, time it perfectly or it may cost you a few seconds. Big deal so they go fast.

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