The America’s Cup is getting exciting (who thought I would ever say that)

Dean Barker

OH. MY. GOD. I can’t believe this madness hasn’t ended yet. I was certain Team New Zealand was going to win one of the races yesterday, as the Oracle crew had yet to do better than split decisions on days when two races were sailed. But now Oracle has in fact won four in a row and “only” needs four more.

This is starting to seem almost feasible. And I think Dean Barker is starting to think the same thing. He hasn’t been looking too happy at press conferences lately.

Here’s the video (HIGHLIGHT) for yesterday, in case you haven’t stumbled across it elsewhere:

Both wins were wire-to-wire, but the Kiwis got very close for a while in the first race. Oracle has firmly established that they can foil like bandits upwind when conditions permit and their tactics and crew work continue to improve overall. If day one of the series were today and I were making bets, I’d have to pick them.

Which reminds me… if Oracle repeats with a double win today, that jury decision docking them two races at the start becomes determinative.

That would truly suck.


Americas Cup – the writing is on the wall

from SAILfeed

AC Final Race 5

I was going to blog about the Cup again after watching race 4 on Sunday and planned to cheerfully announce how wrong I was in my last post on the subject. I am an optimist at heart, and I was ready to drink all the Kool-Aid in sight after watching Oracle finally beat Emirates Team New Zealand in a fair fight. I recalled the 2004 ALCS between the Red Sox and Yankees, and how I was chatting with my best Sox buddy right after the Yanks went up three games to zip in the series. “You know what,” I said to him, as the marvelous premonition of what was about to happen swept over me. “I think we have them right where we want them.”

And, of course, I was right…

'04 Sox win headline

I was trying very hard to have that premonition again. I tried to imagine the impossible becoming probable: Oracle coming back against all odds, in spite of being docked two races for cheating, in spite of losing their second most important crew member, in spite of losing the first three final races. Etc. etc. etc.

But then I thought I better watch race 5 before writing anything.

And presumably you know how that went.

ETNZ racing

Big f**king winners

Oracle racing

Big f**king losers

I will say I am glad I was wrong in one respect: in the end the closest racing in these boats has come in the finals, which is how it should be. I will watch all remaining races with great interest, as should you all. Never before in the history of sailing have we been able to watch one 72-foot yacht traveling at 30-40 knots luff up hard at close quarters into another yacht of the same species, running at the same speeds, in a short round-the-buoys race.

If you don’t think that’s interesting or exciting, then you obviously have misplaced your brain somewhere.

I also have two suggestions: 1) if I were Larry Ellison I would interrogate all my paid employees closely until I found out exactly who did what in this AC World Series cheating scandal, then I would personally dismember all guilty parties and throw their body parts in the bay; and 2) if I were the Kiwis I’d insist that all cheating sanctions against Oracle be removed, just to keep things interesting a little while longer.

Meanwhile, whether suggestion no. 2 is seized upon or not, my previous offer re taking any odds that the Kiwis will win still stands.