Totally dominant New Zealand lead 3-0
America’s Cup Match, Race 3: Emirates Team New Zealand bt Oracle Team USA by 0:49
During the pre-race briefing, race director Iain Murray said he expected more excellent racing as the two teams “come out swinging”, as Jimmy Spithill, Oracle helmsman said yesterday. Murray is confident that the wind will be more stable and that the boats will not fall into those five-knot holes and fall off their foils.
There were times when each boat suffered on Saturday. Both were in the same hole and off their foils together once. The Kiwis hit one as they rounded the final mark to head for the finish and Oracle hit one when they rounded the last upwind mark close behind New Zealand, only to have a bad gybe and a splashdown in a lull.
This racing is close, no room for error. Chief umpire Richard Slater showed the media a diagram generated digitally for the umpires to review the “over early” penalty against Oracle. The system can measure with a two-centimetre level of accuracy. Oracle were over early by 30cm.
Today winds were expected to be more stable, 10-13 knots from about 110 degrees to 130 degrees.
Racing began with pre-start intensity. New Zealand entered on port tack and Oracle ten seconds later. That is to protect the port-tack boat from attack by the advantaged boat.
After deep dives into the back of the box, they raced to the left lay line then turned up for the line. New Zealand got the best of it. The Kiwis made the first mark first ahead by a boat length.
The Kiwis made a perfect gybe while Oracle touched down slightly slowed just after their gybe. One mistake put them on the back foot. They were never close again. That gave the Kiwis a chance to soak down in front of Oracle to give them a dose of wing wash. They went into the downwind gate 11 seconds ahead.
The Kiwis extended upwind, picking their shifts and covering Oracle. The Americans made one extra tack to the windward mark and fell back to 32 seconds behind.
At the next mark, the Kiwis were 49 seconds ahead. Oracle came in for a dial-down as the Kiwis headed downwind and were the burdened boat. Oracle pointed down at them but the Kiwis made a big turn to avoid contact. Oracle pressed for a penalty, but it was ruled against
The Kiwis made the final gate 41 seconds ahead of Oracle.
The next leg was a short one to the middle mark, then a turn to the longer run to the finish.
Kiwis made the turn 41 seconds ahead and finished 49 seconds ahead of Oracle to take a 2-0 lead. The Kiwis’ average speed was a knot faster; upwind almost two knots faster.
Emirates Team New Zealand lead Oracle Team USA 2-0
Race 4: Emirates Team New Zealand bt Oracle Team USA by 1:12
What could Oracle Team USA do between races three and four? They changed some of the crew. New Zealand were in the winning mode. They would stick with their plan: get ahead and stay there. If you are winning, don’t change.
New Zealand have not been behind on any leg yet in the four races.
At the pre-start, Oracle entered on port and kept running straight ahead upwind in the box. The Kiwis then dived deep into the other corner of the starting box and then came back up towards the line. The Kiwis just stopped and then turned in a circle to come out under Oracle and cross the line on a time-and-distance approach gapped up to windward at the starting line.
Both boats popped up and were foiling right at the start on the way to mark one. The Kiwis were to windward because they had gapped up. They were faster with a better angle and outran Oracle, dropping down in front of them going to the first mark four seconds ahead. Burling has won every race when he has been ahead at the first mark.
The Kiwis were nine seconds ahead going on to upwind leg three. It was a classic match race going upwind. Oracle were just a little off the pace and the Kiwis were staying between the Americans and the mark. Kiwis rounded first on to leg four by 43 seconds.
Downwind, the Kiwis and Burling looked relaxed. “The Iceman” checked for puffs and shifts from down in his cockpit, working up the course with just plain slick sailing. Burling led by 39 seconds going on to leg five. Upwind they led by 350 metres and staying directly between Oracle and the mark. They tacked two times more to keep their loose cover. The Kiwis were again sailing higher and just as fast, and built their lead to 500 metres.
Going from leg five to six, New Zealand were one minute ahead of Oracle. Sailing downwind, the Kiwis just needed to protect their lead from 800 metres ahead. Burling and friends led by 1min 6sec at that middle turning mark.
At the end, it was New Zealand by 1:12. By maintaining a higher VMG [velocity made good], the Kiwi boys had sailed nearly 500 metres fewer than Oracle 17 and sailed a faster average speed, too.
Everyone is asking what can Oracle do during the week off — well, maybe they can pray for more wind. They need a different racecourse to have a shot.
Joey Newton said this Kiwi boat “is quicker than the one we faced a couple of weeks ago [in qualifying]”.
Burling said, coolly: “Another good day for us. We’re getting around the course well.”
Emirates Team New Zealand lead Oracle Team USA 3-0
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