San Francisco, CA, United States (4E Sports) – Oracle Team USA faces a daunting task as it needs to win eight consecutive races to defend the America’s Cup trophy that it won in 2010.
“It’s not over; it’s a long way from over,” said Oracle skipper Jimmy Spithill.
Emirates Team New Zealand’s wire-to-wire win in Race 11 moved the challenger to within a victory of clinching the 34th America’s Cup.
The Kiwis, who won the event in 1995 and 2000, have a chance to wrap up the race-to-9 affair and bag their third trophy with a victory Thursday.
Race 12 was supposed to be sailed Wednesday but the race committee, headed by Regatta DirectorIain Murray, postponed it because wind strength had exceeded the prescribed 20-knot limit.
“Both teams would’ve liked to sail the second race, but Iain has to stick by the limits that are set,” Spithill said.
Emirates Team New Zealand has two chances tomorrow to close out the series. Race 12 is scheduled to start at 1:15 pm PT, followed by Race 13 (if necessary) at 2:15 pm PT.
The wind is forecast to be light to moderate for the first race and building for the second race. The lighter conditions seem to suit the Kiwis more than Oracle Team USA.
“The boat seems to go well in a breeze, that’s obvious,” said Spithill. “But I think we can still win races in the light stuff. We’re looking hard every night at what we can do. We’d love to get on with the racing, but we’ve got those wind limits and have to obey them.”
In Race 11, Emirates Team New Zealand led at all four mark roundings – by 3, 6, 17 and 18 seconds – before settling for a 15-second victory.
The 3-nautical-mile upwind leg again proved pivotal to the match. The Kiwis began the leg with a 6-second advantage, but Oracle Team USA once again attacked.
The two crews traded 10 tacks on the leg, but the Kiwis fended off every advance with covering tactics and solid boatspeed.
“Every win here is so hard, they’re monumental battles, so you’re thankful for every win you get,” said Barker. “We had a bit of an idea how to attack it and it worked out as well as it could have.”