America’s Cup Match, presented by Louis Vuitton
Race 5: Emirates Team New Zealand bt Oracle Team USA by 2:04
The fifth race of the America’s Cup Match was a key race to see how changes, “upgrades”, made over the past five days worked out for each team.
Oracle entered the box for the pre-start on port tack, New Zealand were allowed in ten seconds later on starboard.
Oracle went deep in the west corner of the box while New Zealand went deep to the north boundary, The two came together in the middle of the box and Oracle did a wiggle to burn speed.
New Zealand were pushing Oracle to windward. Shooting up to the line, Team USA were over early. Couldn’t believe that. New Zealand outpaced Oracle going two knots faster downwind. Oracle tried to set up a split at the bottom mark, but New Zealand would not fall for that. They gybed around in front of Oracle and led them to the right. New Zealand had a four-second lead.
Oracle picked up pressure and a wind shift and got the lead with starboard rights on a crossing upwind. USA led for the first time on any leg in this Match. But the lead lasted only until the next crossing and it was only about seven metres anyway. Oracle didn’t keep clear when New Zealand came back on starboard and copped another penalty, and had to drop back two boat lengths.
Oracle had to do an extra tack to make the upwind mark. Going on to leg four, New Zealand led by 26 seconds.
Going downwind Oracle almost came to a dead stop. They ran out of juice to manage the sails and foils. Oracle continued to have problems keeping their hulls up and stuck their hulls in the waves more than once. The Kiwis led by 57 seconds at the downwind mark.
Those two or three unforced errors by Oracle are the key for New Zealand.
New Zealand made some very aggressive choices with this boat and they have paid off, but today Oracle seemed to have better speed than the first two races.
Going on to leg six, the Kiwis had a massive lead. Leg seven was a straight shot to the finish. Oracle did not push for speed to the finish, so the Kiwis won by 2min 4sec.
Peter Burling said: “The great boat we have got a little bit quicker.”
He was happy with the close racing tactics that helped get the penalty on Oracle.
Emirates Team New Zealand lead Oracle Team USA 4-0
Race 6: Oracle Team USA bt Emirates Team New Zealand by 0:11
Oracle’s upgrades seemed to have paid off with some additional speed in race five, the first after the five-day layoff. However, an error at the start and a “failure to keep clear” penalty made the difference.
New Zealand entered on port tack for this race with Oracle on starboard ten seconds later.
New Zealand headed out to the west with Oracle following. Oracle got a much better start and led away from the start. For the first time in this America’s Cup, Oracle led around the first mark. The lead was going back and forth but Oracle led at mark two, going on to leg three by six seconds.
Going upwind, Oracle showed good speed and made some smooth tacks. Oracle led by 250 metres going downwind, getting the jump on New Zealand early on leg four. But going into the downwind mark, the Kiwis got a puff and a right-hand shift and retook the lead. Oracle trailed by six seconds. One gybe fewer and the Kiwis made their move.
At the weather mark, Oracle made a huge gain on a wind shift and retook the lead. On leg six, they took a 120-metre and led on to leg seven by eight seconds.
Oracle Team USA held on to the lead to the finish by six seconds to take their first point.
Oracle’s average speed was 26.71 knots and New Zealand had 26.65. USA sailed 4,489.6 metres and New Zealand sailed 4,249 metres. New Zealand tacked and gybes fewer times, with 17 to Oracle’s 19.
It will take some careful analysis tor the teams to figure out why they won or lost. Perhaps it comes down to positioning on the course and match-race tactics. Spithill is thought to have the edge there.
Can this be the beginning of the Oracle comeback?
In AC34, it was 8-1 and now it is only 4-1.
Wow, now it gets interesting. There was a completely different attitude on 17 after this race. Can Oracle Team USA do it?
From on the water, Spithill said: “This is just what the boys needed, It was a good improvement in speed. We had improvement in technique as well.”
Winds by the end of racing had dropped to about nine knots from about 11 at the start of the first race
Sunday winds are predicted to be a little lighter in one model and much lighter in another, even below the minimum.
Emirates Team New Zealand lead Oracle Team USA 4-1