ORACLE TEAM USA captured its second win of the 34th America’s Cup on Saturday in San Francisco. Skipper Jimmy Spithill and crew crossed the line 52 seconds ahead of Emirates Team New Zealand in the lone race of the day – Race 8 of the regatta – after Race 9 was abandoned due to high winds.
“It’s the first time upwind we felt really competitive,” said tactician Tom Slingsby. “Our tacks were better, we felt like we were sailing the shifts a bit better, and obviously the speed was better. We made a couple changes to the boat yesterday, and they seem to have been good steps. We’re really encouraged.”
With winds blowing 18-20 knots, Emirates New Zealand jumped in front off the start of Race 8. ORACLE TEAM USA kept close, splitting the second gate 8 seconds back. Mid way up the third leg, New Zealand nearly capsized. As Spithill and crew were closing in on starboard tack, they were able to capitalize and move in front. ORACLE TEAM USA extended the lead to win the race by 52 seconds.
Race 9 got underway, but during the third leg it was abandoned when wind speeds reached the limit.
“Today, to come from behind on the upwind leg, was a big boost for the guys,” said Spithill. “The design team, the engineering team, the shore team, all worked very, very hard yesterday and they were rewarded with the win. It’s exactly what we needed. We’re going to work all night again, and we’ll come out tomorrow ready to try to step it up once more.”
On Sunday, the teams will be back on the course with a restart of Race 9, followed by Race 10. Racing begins at 1:15 pm PT and 2:15 pm PT.
Emirates Team New Zealand maintains a 6-0 series lead in points, and is in front 6-2 in wins. ORACLE TEAM USA needs nine more wins while New Zealand needs three to win the 34th America’s Cup.
RACE 8 DATA
Course: 5 Legs/10.16 nautical miles
Elapsed Time: OTUSA – 23:09, ETNZ – 24:01
Delta: OTUSA +:52
Total distance sailed: OTUSA – 11.4 NM, ETNZ – 11.7 NM
Average Speed: OTUSA – 29.90 knots (34 mph), ETNZ – 29.32 knots (34 mph)
Top Speed: OTUSA – 44.58 knots (51 mph), ETNZ – 47.02 knots (54 mph)
Windspeed: Average – 16.6 knots, Peak – 19.6 knots
Number of Tacks/Jibes: OTUSA – 8/8, ETNZ – 9/7
Emirates Team New Zealand – 6
ORACLE TEAM USA – 0