Having lost four races in a row by Sunday evening, the tide has turned along with the confidence as Oracle takes race 16 today, stretching the race to a minimum of 17 races and five losses in a row for the Kiwis. That must be a tremendous psychological burden for the team which was seen as a runaway winner after the first 2 or 3 races.
This is looking to be one of the greatest comeback struggles of any game, any time, even if Oracle eventually fails to keep the cup.
There is no second race on Monday due to time limitations.
On Tuesday the forecast is for good winds at the start time for race 17 but questionable if there is a Race 18.
As a serious big boat sailor, but not one who has sailed cats, it has appeared to me that at the beginning the New Zealand crew seemed to have a much better feel for their boat than the U.S.A. Oracle team did for their boat.
I think it is undeniable that the tactics in the early race were almost always better plotted and executed by the New Zealand team.
But by about race 3 there was the whiff of a change in the wind and it has grown more pronounced each day with Oracle improving both in their boat handling and their tactical decisions.
The poor showing by the U.S.A. team at the beginning of the series may all stem from the cheating scandal which famously penalized the Oracle team two points, meaning that in the first to 9 race, Oracle had to win three races to get their first point.
Psychologically it has to have some impact on a team to know they have been caught cheating even though no one on the actual boat has been accused of any wrongdoing.
Add to that the fact that any experience in the harbor course gained from the races on the illegally ballasted boat may have been nullified by the fact that their boat was illegal while those they were racing against were running within the rules.
During Monday’s first race, about half way through the boats were running about 18kts and I saw this tweet from the automated weather service: “WND Wind 260 at 12.8 kts, 14.4 kts peak”
So the wind was at compass point 260 degrees, running just short of 13 kts. and peak gusts of 14 and one half kts. This was on the upwind tack, leg 3, headed toward the Bridge.
Sailors should remember that if they signup for free, they can follow the tweets during the race at
Tweets at the end of the race today read:
“TIM Series stands NZL 8 wins (8 pts), USA 8 wins (6 pts); NZL need 1 win, USA 3 wins to win Cup”
“TIM Race 17 resked for tomorrow Tues 24 Sep at 13:15 PDT, race 18 if needed at 14:15”
So the race series could end tomorrow if the Kiwi’s win any race, but if the U.S.A. team wins any and all races on Tuesday, the race could be all tied up on Wednesday.