by Richard Crockett
The question everyone is asking is whether Oracle Team USA (OTUSA) has the ability to bounce back and avoid a whitewash? The simple answer is yes, they can, but will they?
Emirates Team New Zealand won both races in convincing style on day 2 – by huge margins too – and have now won the opening 4 races of the competition. It appears that the Kiwis have speed to burn, and are using it very wisely. And no, it is not just their boatspeed which is assisting them, it is their tactics too which are sublime and which come from Match Racings top drawer.
Jimmy Spithill must be a very relieved man knowing that he has a 5 day window of grace to improve his boat and match the Kiwis ‘ “Five days, a very important five days,” said Spithill. We must use the days wisely. We’ve got to get faster. That’s pretty obvious.”
Obvious it is, and with their huge resources one would think they will come back more competitive next weekend. But this is not just about the OTUSA lacklustre performance so far and whether they will bounce back – it’s also about whether the Kiwis are already maxed out, or do they have something extra up their sleeves that they have yet to play?
Only time will tell.
What has intrigued me and angered others is that OTUSA has come into this final set of races with a 1 point advantage. Most ‘Cup’ pundits believe that they have pulled a dirty, yet all teams except the Kiwis agreed to this.
What it means is that the Kiwis have to win 8 races to win overall, and OTUSA just 7 – all due to that bonus point. Who would be stupid enough to agree to that – or did OTUSA have them over a barrel?
I think this may be the undoing of Oracle Team USA!
Comments by Skippers
“We have been here before,” the American skipper said. “It’s not over.”
There’s now a five day gap before racing resumes and Oracle plan to make the most of them.
“Five days, a very important five days,” said Spithill. We must use the days wisely. We’ve got to get faster. That’s pretty obvious.”
“Their acceleration was pretty impressive off the line.”
“We’ve already got a massive list of things we want to work on. We sailed better today, but we also made a lot of mistakes and we are a long way from where we want to be.
“And we know if we step back they will catch us.”
That Gifted Point for OTUSA
For those whose blood continues to boil over the ‘gifted’ point the Americans have, here is an extract form the Protocol that covers it.
29.1. Overview: The Match shall include the following agreed principles:
(a) the winner of each race scores one (1) point, the loser scores no
(b) if the winner of the America’s Cup Qualifiers is a Competitor in
the Match, it shall start the Match with a score of one (1) point;
(c) the winner of the Match will be the first Competitor to score at
least seven (7) points after applying any penalties;