America’s Cup: New Zealand Three Races from VictoryBy: Brian Powell - September 13, 2013
Following two crushing defeats for Oracle Team, representing the United States, Emigrates Team of New Zealand is now only 3 races from victory in the America’s Cup. New Zealand was able to win the Race 6 by a margin of 47 seconds and Race 7 by a margin of 1 minute and 6 seconds, giving the Kiwis a 6-0 edge in terms of total victories. In order to take home the Auld Mug, New Zealand must win 9 races, while the Americans must win 11. With 0 total points under their belt right now, it is now time for desperation for Oracle Team.
Before we go any further, though, I am sure many of you would like to know what in the world I am talking about? I’m glad you asked. The America’s Cup is a sailing competition which started in 1851 as a race between an American yacht, ever-so-cleverly named America, and a British yacht entitled the Royal Yacht (Our creative naming ability is perhaps the best indicator of our British heritage.) On that monumental day in 1851, the underdog Americans stole the 100 pound trophy from the Brits in an astounding victory, and thus a rivalry was started. (We also get our cheekiness from those Brits as well. When Queen Victoria asked which ship was in second place, the response was “Your Majesty, there is no second.”) For over 100 years, the trophy was retained by the United States until it was taken away by the Royal Perth Yacht Club.
Which brings us to today and the rivalry between the United States and New Zealand. While America has held the cup much longer than any other nation, New Zealand has had the second most success, holding the trophy from 1995 until 2003. Perhaps their success is due to the fact that they have a natural advantage: “We’re a seafaring nation. Most of our grandparents arrived in ships. We’ve got a small population and a large coastline, and the climate allows you to go boating all year round,” explained Peter Busfield, the Marine Industry Association’s executive director.
Despite the fact that the Americans trail 6-0, Oracle Team skipper Jimmy Spithill is not about to give up (Or perhaps lower the sails. Huh, huh?): “Imagine if these guys lost from here, what an upset that would be. That would be one hell of a story, one hell of a comeback, and that’s what I’d like to be a part of.” At the same time, Spithill realizes that New Zealand has “almost got it in the bag.” On Thursday, Spithill tried to reverse the fortune of the American’s by replacing their tactician in hopes that a new vision to the course would bring salvation. However, the Americans still cannot seem to conquer the last, upwind section of the course. In every race, the Americans have gotten out to a blazing start, and in all but one they have been surpassed by the Kiwis in the last leg.
Oracle Team USA needs the wind gods to be on their side soon, or they may find their hopes dashed upon the rocks and sunk.
Image via Twitter