Laurence Scott reports on a bizarre racing day on the San Francisco Bay that ended with a must-win victory for Team USA.
Race No. 13 proved to be lucky times two for Team Oracle USA.
The race was held twice. The first time Oracle was getting creamed, but it didn't matter because neither team could be finish in the required 40 minutes due to a lack of wind. It was a bizarre scene as the high-performance catamarans limped between the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz Island in only 9 knots of wind. It was the lightest wind of the regatta. Team Oracle was behind by more than 1,000 meters, but it didn't matter.
The second race had a bit more wind and a win for USA. Emirates Team New Zealand was in front around the first mark, but Team USA rolled into the lead on the second leg and held on to collect their fifth win (third point) of the match. Larry Ellison's team made it look easy in a competition that has been anything but for the home team.
“It was a great bounce-back from the guys. We learned a lot in that first race and applied it to the second,” Team USA skipper Jimmy Spithill said. “Where we are now, we truly believe we’ve got the boat to win, we’ve got the tools, and the guys are doing a fantastic job onboard.”
“We’ve all been in that situation where we have a hand on the trophy, and you have to come back and do it all again,” said tactician Ben Ainslie. “We certainly felt fortunate, and we’ll ride our luck with that one and keep fighting.”
The regatta continues on Saturday with Race 14, beginning at 1:15 pm PT. Races 14 and 15 (if necessary) will air in the Bay Area on Cozi TV.
“It's full throttle for us,” said Spithill. “We're not being conservative out there. We're doing everything we can.”
The Kiwis, who reached match point Wednesday, still lead the best to nine series 8-3.
It's hard to say who holds the momentum now.
Oracle needs six more points to retain the trophy it won in 2010.
34th America’s Cup Standings (first to 9 points wins)
Race 13 Performance Data