A Look back at the remarkable come from behind in Big Time Sport sailing….
The 2013 Cup wasn’t supposed to be any different. But a competition that was expected to be humdrum turned into one of the most remarkable ever. This account of how that happened was pieced together through extensive interviews with the sailors, engineers and other team leaders.
Largely because of team owner Larry Ellison, the founder of software giant Oracle Corp. and one of the world’s richest men, Oracle had all the advantages conferred upon the incumbent, plus some.
The 11 sailors were a collection of international superstars. The engineers who designed the yacht and the programmers who built the software used to plot strategy had no peer. Oracle’s computer simulations suggested the AC72—which cost at least $10 million to build—wasn’t just the better boat in the final, it was the fastest sailboat ever to compete for the Cup, capable of 48 knots, or about 55 mph.
Mr. Spithill wasn’t sure why Emirates Team New Zealand, Oracle’s opponent in the final, had been faster so far. The prevailing theory among Oracle’s sailors was that they were just rusty. As the defending Cup champions, they hadn’t had to race in the preliminaries.
Mr. Spithill on Oracle’s tactics at the start of Race 5.
As the AC72 dropped its towline on Sept. 10 and headed for the starting line, Mr. Spithill hoped that in Race 5, the Oracle crew would get its act together.
The start of an America’s Cup race is an exercise in pinpoint execution. The two boats can’t cross the starting line until a countdown timer hits zero. On this day, both boats hit the line simultaneously.
The five legs of the racecourse sent the boats from near the Golden Gate Bridge to the downtown San Francisco waterfront and took anywhere from 20 to 40 minutes to complete, depending on wind. Through the first two legs, Oracle was in total control, building up an eight-second lead…..Share on Facebook