Racing Worth Waiting For

Although the 34th America’s Cup may have still fallen short in some ways, there’s no denying that Larry Ellison, Russell Coutts and company have finally gotten what they wanted—some of the most exciting racing the historic sailing series has ever seen.
Author:
Publish date:
Updated on

Although the 34th America’s Cup may have still fallen short in some ways, there’s no denying that Larry Ellison, Russell Coutts and company have finally gotten what they wanted—some of the most exciting racing the historic sailing series has ever seen.

AC34-Opener-600x

And on Wednesday, Cup fans the world over may very well have a chance to see the denouement, after races 11 and 12 were postponed Tuesday, when conditions on San Francisco Bay exceeded the wind limits imposed following the Artemis capsize last May.

“I’m concerned about the boats getting home safely,” regatta director Iain Murray said, shortly before deciding to send the defender, Oracle USA, and Emirates Team New Zealand back to their respective bases. “We have a huge amount of wind along the city front. It’s windy and the [opposing] current’s getting stronger by the minute. We must consider that although today is windy, we have more racing to go. When the front passes tonight. we’ll get back to good racing tomorrow and the rest of the week.”

With ETNZ currently leading the best 17 series 7-1, the challenger could finish off Oracle once and for all if it wins both of today’s race, the first of which is scheduled to begin at 1:35 p.m. Pacific Time. However, while early on in the series it looked like the Kiwis were going to roll over the U.S. team the same way they did Artemis and Luna Rossa, the competition is getting tighter and tighter with each race.

The drama is also fast building to a fever pitch, with scrappy starts, heart-stopping crossing situations and even a near capsize for ETNZ midway through the race last Saturday, which Oracle went on to win by 52 seconds. In fact, the two races Sunday—in which Oracle and ETNZ each took a turn coming out on top—were some of the most intense in America’s Cup history, with the outcome hanging in the balance with every maneuver. (To see the two Sunday races, click here ) Race 10 was an especially close one, with the lead changing hands four times in all, three of those times as the two boats match raced their way up the 3-mile windward leg. Such evenly matched competition is almost unheard of in the America’s Cup, which over the years has all too often been a yawner, with the faster boat dominating from start to finish.

“If you didn’t enjoy today’s racing you should probably watch another sport,” said Emirates Team New Zealand skipper Dean Barker, after Sunday’s back-and-forth battles.

“I can honestly say this is the most fun and exciting sailing I’ve been involved with,” said ORACLE tactician Ben Ainslie.

For once, it’s safe to say this isn’t just a couple of guys toeing the corporate line in an event that many feel is losing its soul as it becomes increasingly commercial. These guys really mean it.

Bring on the racing!

Related

TOTW_PromoSite

SAIL's Tip of the Week

Presented by Vetus-Maxwell. Got a tip? Send it to sailmail@sailmagazine.com Check the waypoint  Most errors with GPS and paper chart navigation are caused by the operator punching in the wrong numbers or plotting the lat/long incorrectly. The surest way to double-check a ...read more

Furlex-Electric

Gear: Seldén’s Furlex Electric

Furl Power Seldén’s Furlex Electric offers an easy path into the world of sweat-free headsail furling. The compact unit can be retrofitted to an existing manual Furlex unit or installed as a replacement for whatever you’ve got now. Its DC-DC converter accepts your boat’s 12V or ...read more

11_DSC8423Tom-Zydler

Cruising: Nova Scotia

There’s a unique cruising ground that combines access to urban locations with easy escapes to wilderness and nature. Its native people may be the friendliest on the east coast of North America. Its coastline runs 250 nautical miles in a straight line, but that should be ...read more

01-LEAD-shutterstock_727849660

Boat Monitoring System

Boat Oversight In a world where you can track your friends’ locations in real time and stream yourself live on the internet, it should come as no surprise that you can also keep a close eye on your boat from the comfort of home. In fact, not only is there a plethora of options ...read more

pilot_saloon_42-_en_navigation_11

Boat Review: Wauquiez Pilot Saloon 42

Old salts grouse about modern aesthetics. It’s just what they do, and the hard lines and spartan interiors of today’s production boats give them many reasons to complain. French builder Wauquiez, however, seems to consistently be able to marry contemporary elements with ...read more

JuneWaterlines

Sights and Stories Cruising the Caribbean

Though I hate to think of myself as a “disaster tourist,” I can’t deny one of the things I was most curious about as I sailed south last fall to visit St. Martin, the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico was how much hurricane damage I would see. I’m sure no one needs reminding that ...read more