2013 America's Cup

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34th America's Cup
Color photograph of a racing catamaran underway with the starboard hull out of the water
Team New Zealand leading Oracle Racing at the first mark in the first race
Defender United States
Defender club: Golden Gate Yacht Club Golden Gate Yacht Club burgee
Yacht: Oracle Team USA 17
Challenger New Zealand
Challenger club: Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron burgee
Yacht: Aotearoa
Competition
Location: San Francisco, California
Dates: September 2013
Rule: AC72
Winner: Golden Gate Yacht Club
Score: United States 9 New Zealand 8

The 34th America's Cup was a series of boat races held on San Francisco Bay between the defender Oracle Team USA representing the Golden Gate Yacht Club, and the challenger Emirates Team New Zealand representing the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron. Oracle Team USA defended the America's Cup by a score of 9 to 8. Oracle had to win the last eight races to come from behind to once again win the oldest trophy in international sport.[1] Team New Zealand won the right to challenge for the Cup by winning the 2013 Louis Vuitton Cup. The 34th America's Cup was the longest ever Cup by both number of days and races, and the first since the 25th America's Cup to feature a winner-take-all final race.

Background[edit]

The Golden Gate Yacht Club beat Société Nautique de Genève in the 2010 America's Cup to become the Defenders of the America's Cup. The first Challenger of Record for the 34th Cup was Club Nautico di Roma and a joint press conference was held on May 6, 2010, to plan for the event.[2] The planning process was to include: definition of new rules, an independent management team, definition of a new class of boats created in conjunction with all teams, regular racing in multiple venues and provision for much increased television and online coverage.

Larry Ellison has spent an estimated $500 million over the last 11 years pursuing, winning and now defending the silver trophy. Ellison and Russel Coutts have long been criticized failing for years to allow multiple boats to compete. 2010 only two boats competed, 2013 only four boats competed.[3][4]

Protocol[edit]

The Protocol for the 34th America's Cup was published on September 13, 2010.[5][6] The America's Cup regatta took place in September 2013.

Boats[edit]

Two new classes of boat were announced. AC72 wing-sail catamarans are being used for the America's Cup races and the AC45 class, a scaled-down one-design version of the AC72, was used for the preliminary training and racing until boats built to the AC72 rules became available. The amended AC72 Class Rule version 1.1 was published on February 22, 2011.[7]

The AC72 can reach speeds averaging about 30 knots (56 km/h; 35 mph) with peaks over 40 knots (74 km/h; 46 mph); that speed can be as much as 1.8 to slightly over 2.0 times the actual wind speed.[8] This is significantly faster than the previous ACC boats that reached speeds of 11 to 13 knots (20 to 24 km/h; 13 to 15 mph).[9]

America's Cup World Series[edit]

In order to increase global awareness, and hence attract sponsors for the teams, an America's Cup World Series was held over the 2011-12 and 2012-13 seasons. The winner of each annual series was declared the America's Cup World Series Champion for that season. There were three regattas in 2011, five in 2012, and two in 2013. Each regatta lasted for one week and had approximately 6 days of racing, including official practice. Each AC World Series regatta was a combination of match and fleet racing. AC45 one-design catamarans were used for each World Series regatta.[citation needed]

Cost reduction[edit]

Officials adopted rules for the 2013 America's Cup to reduce costs and thereby attract more challengers:[10]

  • No-sail periods limit the time for on-the-water boat tuning and crew training.
  • Rules limit the number of boats, sails, equipment, and support boats that each team may use to two AC72 boats. Competitors shall not launch the first boat before July 1, 2012, and from July 1, 2012 through January 31, 2013, may sail their AC72 boat for a maximum of 30 days. The competitor's second AC72 boat may not be launched before February 1, 2013. From February 1, 2013 through May 1, 2013, the competitors may sail their AC72 boats for a maximum of 45 days per AC72 boat. There are no sailing-days restrictions from May 1, 2013 onward.[11][12]
  • Rules limit crew size to 11 sailors.

Despite these measures, the cost of mounting a competitive challenge likely exceeds US$100 million.[13]

Youth America's Cup[edit]

In addition to using the AC45 catamarans for the initial world series races, they are used in the nationality-based 'Youth America's Cup' (YAC). The smaller scaled down AC45 version of the AC72 with similar characteristics to the AC72 enables younger competition sailors to master the techniques used to sail this style of catamaran before they progress to the AC72 boats. The YAC began in 2013. The 2013 was won by New Zealand. The second place boat was also a New Zealand boat.[14]

Venue[edit]

On July 8, 2010, Oracle Team USA announced that San Francisco was "the only city in the USA under consideration to host the 34th America's Cup” match.[15] At the time, KGO-TV and Gazzetta dello Sport, an Italian sports newspaper, reported that Rome-Fiumicino, Italy was challenging San Francisco to host the event.[16] Oracle Team USA confirmed that San Diego, Newport[17] and Long Beach were considered earlier as possible venues for this event.

A key parameter in deciding the venue was reliability of the wind and weather patterns so that pre-published television schedules would be virtually guaranteed to show racing rather than suffering endless postponements which was a significant problem for TV audiences watching the 2010 America's Cup.[2] In early December 2010, BMW Oracle Racing became concerned that a full and final agreement with San Francisco would not be completed in time to comply with the requirement to announce the location of the cup venue on December 31, 2010. As a result, negotiations were activated with Newport, Rhode Island, as a potential venue for the cup.[18] However, on December 31 San Francisco was officially awarded the right to host the 2013 America's Cup.[19]

Teams[edit]

AC 72 Team Oracle

Originally fourteen yacht clubs submitted notices of entry within the deadline, but two were declined and ten withdrew. Another yacht club submitted an entry after the deadline and was accepted leaving three challengers.[20] Oracle racing was the only team that represented the defending Golden Gate Yacht Club.[20] Club Nautico di Roma was originally named as the Challenger of Record, but after their team Mascalzone Latino withdrew[21][22] it was replaced by the Swedish Yacht Club, sponsoring Team Artemis.[23] Other notable teams that withdrew included former Cup holder Alinghi[24] and the Energy Team from Yacht Club de France.[25]

On August 2, 2012, the America's Cup Event Authority announced that four challenging teams would compete for the right to challenge Oracle Team USA.[26][27] These teams were Team Artemis (the Challenger of Record) representing Kungliga Svenska Segelsällskapet, Emirates Team New Zealand representing the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron, Luna Rossa representing Circolo della Vela Sicilia and the White Tiger Challenge representing Sail Korea Yacht Club. Luna Rossa was a late entry and formed a partnership with Team New Zealand where they would share design and testing information.[28] Following Team Korea's withdrawal in March 2013, the number of challengers dropped to three.[20]

Defending club
United States Golden Gate Yacht Club Oracle Team USA
Challenging clubs
Sweden Kungliga Svenska Segelsällskapet Artemis Racing[29]
New Zealand Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron Emirates Team New Zealand
Italy Circolo della Vela Sicilia Luna Rossa Challenge[30]

Course[edit]

The course for the 34th America's Cup has been especially designed to take advantage of the San Francisco Bay to bring the racing within easy viewing of the shore for the first time.[31][32][33] The starting area is furthest away from the shore, close to the Golden Gate Bridge. The boats are only allowed to enter the starting box two minutes before the gun. The boat entering on port tack is allowed to enter ten seconds before the starboard tack boat.[34] This is to reduce the danger of having two boats travelling at up to 40 knots (74 km/h; 46 mph) heading towards each other into the starting area.

  • After the race gun signals the start, the first leg is a short reach of around 0.5 nautical miles (0.93 km; 0.58 mi) towards the shore.
  • After rounding the reach mark, the boats travel downwind to the leeward gate. This second leg is around 2.5 nautical miles (4.6 km; 2.9 mi) in length. At the bottom of the course, the leeward gate has two different marks. Rounding either mark completes the leg.
  • The third leg stretches around 3 nautical miles (5.6 km; 3.5 mi) from the leeward gate to the windward gate. This upwind leg is the longest leg timewise, even though the AC72s are able to sail upwind close to twice the speed of the wind against them. The windward gate also has two separate marks, with the skippers able to choose either to complete the leg.
  • On the fourth and final downwind leg, the boats will be aiming for the leeward mark that is closer to the shore.
  • Rounding this mark puts them on a reach sprint to the finish. The fifth leg is around 1 nautical mile (1.9 km; 1.2 mi) in length. The finish line is right in front of America's Cup Park, at Piers 27/29.

The length of the course varies, but is around 10 nautical miles (19 km; 12 mi) and generally takes about 25 minutes. During the 2013 Louis Vuitton Cup on the same course, some races were raced with an extra lap around the leeward and windward gates. This seven leg course is around 16 nautical miles (30 km; 18 mi), taking approximately 45 minutes to sail.[35]

The racecourse is delinated by a boundary. Going outside of the boundary draws a penalty which is indicated by blue lights on board the boats.[36] The green lights on board the boats will flash whenever the boat is within three boatlengths of the boundary, or a mark. Whichever boat enters the three boatlength circle around a mark, they will generally have mark rights and be allowed to round without worrying about the other boat. The exception is when there is an overlap between the two boats. If an overlap exists, room must be made to ensure both boats round the mark safely. The maximum time for a race is 40 minutes after which the race is stopped.[37]

If a penalty is awarded against a boat, a moving penalty line is calculated and placed two boat lengths behind them, advancing on a direct heading to the mark or the wind (depending which leg). The penalised boat must slow their Velocity Made Good such that their boat falls behind the penalty line. This is calculated in real time by computers, and indicated to the teams on the water via the lights and direct radio communication.[38]

Alcatraz Island is a unique part of the racecourse for this event. For the first week of the event, San Francisco Bay experienced flood tides during the America's Cup races. As water flowed into the bay, there was a cone close to the Island where the incoming tide was noticeably less than the rest of the racecourse. On the upwind leg, when boats have to sail against the flood tide, tactical use of this cone was crucial.[39]

Results[edit]

Challenger determination[edit]

The challenger was determined in the 2013 Louis Vuitton Cup challenger selection series. Emirates Team New Zealand won the Louis Vuitton Cup and therefore the right to challenge Oracle Team USA in the America's Cup.

Cheating penalty[edit]

An international jury found Oracle Team USA guilty of cheating during the America's Cup World Series warmup event in 2012 when they placed bags of lead pellets in their 45-foot catamarans to add additional weight outside of allowed areas.[40][41][42] Penalties imposed included expelling three team members,[43] a $250,000 fine, and a one point penalty for each of the first two races of the Match in which they would otherwise score a point.[44] This last penalty meant that Oracle had to win 11 races to retain the trophy, while New Zealand only needed to win 9 races to lift the cup.

Cup matches[edit]

The 34th America's Cup was held between challenger Team New Zealand and defender Oracle Team USA on a five-leg course on San Francisco Bay. One point was awarded for winning a race, and a total of nine points were needed to win the cup. Due to the 2-race penalty assessed on Oracle Team USA, they needed 11 wins to defend the cup.

Wins marked in green
Postponed or Abandoned races marked in red
Race Date PDT United States Oracle Team USA New Zealand Team New Zealand Delta Score
United States New Zealand
1 September 7, 2013 1:15pm 24:06 23:30 00:36 0 1
2 September 7, 2013 2:15pm 23:38 22:46 00:52 0 2
3 September 8, 2013 1:15pm 25:28 25:00 00:28 0 3
4 September 8, 2013 2:15pm 22:42 22:50 00:08 01 3
5 September 10, 2013 1:15pm 23:50 22:45 01:05 0 4
P2 September 10, 2013 2:15pm Postponed 0 4
6 September 12, 2013 1:15pm 32:26 31:39 00:47 0 5
7 September 12, 2013 2:15pm 25:54 24:48 01:06 0 6
8 September 14, 2013 1:15pm 23:09 24:01 00:52 01 6
A3 September 14, 2013 2:15pm 0 6
9 September 15, 2013 1:15pm 21:53 22:40 00:47 1 6
10 September 15, 2013 2:15pm 22:17 22:00 00:17 1 7
P4 September 17, 2013 1:15pm 1 7
P4 September 17, 2013 2:15pm 1 7
11 September 18, 2013 1:15pm 23:56 23:41 00:15 1 8
P4 September 18, 2013 2:15pm 1 8
12 September 19, 2013 1:15pm 23:49 24:20 00:31 2 8
P4 September 19, 2013 2:15pm 2 8
A5 September 20, 2013 1:20pm 2 8
13 September 20, 2013 2:33pm 27:20 28:44 01:24 3 8
P6 September 21, 2013 1:15pm 3 8
P6 September 21, 2013 2:15pm 3 8
14 September 22, 2013 1:15pm 33:47 34:10 00:23 4 8
15 September 22, 2013 2:22pm 27:34 28:11 00:37 5 8
16 September 23, 2013 1:45pm 30:43 31:16 00:33 6 8
P7 September 23, 2013 2:15pm 6 8
17 September 24, 2013 1:15pm 24:04 24:31 00:27 7 8
18 September 24, 2013 2:15pm 22:01 22:55 00:54 8 8
19 September 25, 2013 1:15pm 23:24 24:08 00:44 9 8

1 Oracle's victories in races 4 and 8 did not award points, due to the penalty imposed by the jury.
2 Oracle used their postponement card after race 5, canceling the second race scheduled for September 10.
3 With Team New Zealand leading during the third leg, the second race on September 14 was abandoned by the race committee due to the wind exceeding the allowed maximum.
4 Both races on September 17, and the second races on both September 18 and September 19, were postponed due to the wind exceeding the allowed maximum beyond a reasonable start time.
5 With Team New Zealand well ahead in light winds near the end of the fourth leg, the first race on September 20 was abandoned by the race committee due to the race exceeding the 40-minute time limit.
6 Both races on September 21 were postponed by the race committee due to the wind direction not permitting a fair laying of the race course.
7 Due to the late start of race 16, a second race was not sailed on September 23 due to the 2:40pm cutoff time for racing.

Defender and challenger personnel[edit]

Oracle Team USA[45]

Principal Backer: United States Larry Ellison
CEO: New Zealand Russell Coutts
Skipper: Australia Jimmy Spithill
Tactician: United States John Kostecki (races 1 to 5), United Kingdom Sir Ben Ainslie (races 6 to 19)
Strategist: Australia Tom Slingsby
Wing Trimmer: Australia Kyle Langford
Jib Trimmer: Australia Joe Newton
Off-side trimmer: United States Rome Kirby
Grinders: Antigua and Barbuda Shannon Falcone, New Zealand Joe Spooner, New Zealand Jono MacBeth, Italy Gillo Nobili, Netherlands Simeon Tienpont

Emirates Team New Zealand[46]

Managing Director: New Zealand Grant Dalton
Skipper: New Zealand Dean Barker
Tactician: New Zealand Ray Davies
Wing Trimmer: Australia Glenn Ashby
Trimmer: New Zealand James Dagg
Bow: Australia New Zealand Adam Beashel
Pit: New Zealand Jeremy Lomas
Pedestal 1: New Zealand Chris Ward
Pedestal 2: New Zealand Rob Waddell
Pedestal 3: New Zealand Grant Dalton (races 1 to 3, 5 to 7, 9 to 12, 17, 19), New Zealand Winston MacFarlane (races 4, 8, 13 to 16, 18)
Pedestal 4: New Zealand Chris McAsey
Float / Grinder: New Zealand Derek Saward

Cup narrative[edit]

Day 1: September 7[edit]

The 34th America's Cup began in stark contrast to the one-sided races that dominated the 2013 Louis Vuitton Cup. Team New Zealand skippered by Dean Barker led at the first mark, and held it for second (first downward) leg. The gap to Oracle Team USA was only 4 seconds at the bottom mark, and during the upwind third leg the lead changed several times. Team New Zealand led at the top mark by 25 seconds, and kept the lead until the finish line, winning by 36 seconds.[47]

Race two began as the previous one ended, with Team New Zealand in front, despite the aggressive prestart by Oracle's skipper Jimmy Spithill. TNZ led the whole race, and completed the victory by 52 seconds to lead 0–2.[48]

Day 2: September 8[edit]

Race three initially looked good for Oracle as Spithill luffed Team New Zealand at the reach mark to successfully draw a penalty. Oracle held the lead for the first downwind leg, and were 18 seconds to the good heading into the upwind third leg. The pivotal moment of the race occurred when Barker brought the New Zealand boat back on port tack within three boat lengths of the boundary. Oracle was forced to tack away due to the boundary rights, even though they were on starboard which would have otherwise have had right of way. The 29 second lead at the top mark was held by the Kiwis all the way to the finish, crossing 28 seconds ahead of the Americans to go 0–3 up.[49]

Race four again started well for Oracle, leading around the reach mark by 6 seconds. Although Barker pushed hard the whole race, Spithill was able to hold off Team New Zealand to cross the finish line first by a mere 8 seconds. Due to the penalty imposed by the International Jury, Oracle did not score a point, leaving the New Zealand remaining 3 points ahead.[50]

Day 3: September 10[edit]

Oracle's defeat in race five by 1:05 was so emphatic that the Americans played their one and only Postponement Card to call off the scheduled second race.[51] Team New Zealand had once again been behind from the start all the way to the bottom of the race course. Once heading back upwind however, the Kiwi boat was noticeably faster and gained the lead with ease. A top mark delta of 1:17 effectively ended the race, and gave Spithill plenty of time to consider his options.[52] The score at the end of the day was 0–4, with Team New Zealand ahead.

Day 4: September 12[edit]

Day four opened with the news that Oracle had changed their tactician. John Kostecki, who has raced on San Francisco Bay for decades, was dropped, and Sir Ben Ainslie, the skipper of Oracle's backup boat most successful sailing olympian, was brought on in his place. Another change was the noticeably lighter winds compared to the earlier days of racing.[53]

Race six followed a familiar refrain, with Oracle ahead at the start and holding that lead to the bottom of the downwind leg. After rounding the mark 12 seconds behind, Team New Zealand once again took over sailing into the wind. The highest number of tacks seen thus far was unable to prevent the Kiwis from gaining 55 seconds during the third leg, and the 44 second lead at the top mark was extended to 47 seconds at the finish.[54]

Race seven was one way traffic for Team New Zealand, which led from start to finish. After a run of being behind at the start, Barker was strong in the windward position off the line and simply powered over Oracle to the reach mark. Along with another substantial gain during the third leg, Oracle Team USA had no answer to the Kiwi boat and finished a distant second 1:06 behind. Team New Zealand closed the day in a dominant position of 0–6, two thirds of the way to lifting the America's Cup.[55]

Day 5: September 14[edit]

Race eight brought Team New Zealand to the brink of disaster. Leading from the start to midway up the third leg, TNZ was tacking back to starboard to once again cover Oracle. However, a lack of hydraulic power at a crucial moment during the turn meant that the large wingsail did not move in time. The boat's starboard hull rose out of the water and Aotearoa came within a degree of capsizing.[56][57] To add insult to injury, Barker was penalised for failing to give way to Oracle who was on starboard tack at the time. Merely glad to have their boat in one piece, the Kiwis followed Spithill to the finish 52 seconds behind.

Oracle's victory completed the penalty imposed by the International Jury, allowing them to accrue points for any subsequent victories.[58]

Team New Zealand were ahead during the third leg of the day's second race, but it was abandoned by the Race Committee due to the wind exceeding the 22.6-knot (41.9 km/h; 26.0 mph) allowable maximum (23 knots (43 km/h; 26 mph) minus the 0.4 knots (0.74 km/h; 0.46 mph) tide).[59]

Day 6: September 15[edit]

Race nine showed Oracle Team USA at their best. Spithill again won the start, and extended the lead at every mark including for the first time, a notable gain against the Kiwi boat on the upwind leg. Recording consecutive victories for the first time allowed Oracle to finally get a point, with the score at 1–6.[60]

Team New Zealand won race ten by 16 seconds, in what was widely reported as one of the most exciting America's Cup races of all time.[61][62] Barker looked to have been left behind by Spithill at the startline, but just managed to hold an overlap as the AC72's entered the three boat length circle at the reach mark. Team New Zealand took the 3 second lead, and increased it to 11 at the second mark. Oracle again showed their new competitiveness during the upwind beat, and the lead changed three times. As the boats approached the top mark on split tacks, Barker cleverly slowed the boat, and then aimed down to pass under Oracle at speed. The top mark split was only 1 second as Oracle rounded in front of the shore, and Aotearoa rounded the other mark. With the race still too close to call during the downwind leg, Spithill made the call to dip behind Team New Zealand rather than jibe. The gap almost instantly became 100 metres. Barker was able to hold this lead to the finish to take the series to 1–7.[63][64][65]

In the post race press conference Barker said “If you didn’t enjoy today’s racing you should probably watch another sport.”

Day 7: September 17[edit]

High winds postponed racing on day seven. Both teams were keen to race, and headed out to the starting area. However the start time for the first race was pushed back several times due to the 20.1-knot (37.2 km/h; 23.1 mph) wind limit, and with the wind continuing to increase, at 1:31 pm the Race Committee made it official.[66]

Day 8: September 18[edit]

Team New Zealand led all the way to win race eleven by 15 seconds to move to match point in the race for the Cup. During the pre-start, Barker maneuvered in front of Spithill and then delayed both boats crossing the start line till well after the gun had gone. Oracle performed well on the upwind beat, but Team New Zealand covered well, and the boats rounded opposite marks 17 seconds apart. At the final mark Barker kept Aotearoa between Oracle and the mark, and the rounding was well below the usual speed. Team New Zealand were able to accelerate away leaving Oracle almost dead in the water on the sprint to the finish line, taking the score to 1–8.[67][68] This would prove to be the last win of the regatta for Emirates Team New Zealand.

The second race of the day suffered a 15 minute wind delay postponement, right as the boats hit the start line. Barker had nailed a time on distance sprint to the line to jump out to a lead on the way to the reach mark. The boats made their way back to the starting area, but the wind and the strong outgoing tide combined to confirm the postponement of racing for the day.[69][70]

Day 9: September 19[edit]

Trying to wrap things up in the first race of the day, Barker was aggressive in the pre-start. It did not pay off, and Spithill was able to get into a position where Team New Zealand was forced to keep clear. From that lead off the start line, Oracle led the whole race to win race twelve by 31 seconds on the line. During the upwind leg, Oracle's performance was excellent, which including getting up on the foils at speeds approaching 32 knots. Oracle gained their second point to take the score to 2–8.[71][72]

The start time for the second race of the day was pushed back several times due to the wind exceeding the allowed limit. At one point the teams were able to enter the box, but the wind then exceeded the limit again. Racing was then postponed for the day, allowing Oracle to stay alive for another day.[73]

Day 10: September 20[edit]

Day ten brought the lightest winds seen in the 34th America's Cup. The start of the first race was pushed back by 5 minutes, due to the need to shift one of the marks on the start line. Oracle had the better start in the 8-knot (15 km/h; 9.2 mph) winds, and luffed Team New Zealand at the reach mark. The first downward leg was very different from the rest of the racing, as neither boat was able to get up on its foils. Aotearoa appeared to be the stronger boat in the light breeze, and rounded the leeward gate 1:42 ahead of the Americans. The Kiwi boat continued to extend their lead during the third leg and the main concern turned to whether they would be able to cross the finish line within the 40 minute race limit. Unfortunately for them, despite being ahead by more than 1,000 metres in winds of between 7 and 11 knots (13 and 20 km/h; 8.1 and 12.7 mph) near the end of the fourth leg, with 90% of the race complete, the time expired forcing the abandonment of the race.[74][75]

The resail of race thirteen began at 2:33pm in 12 knots (22 km/h; 14 mph) of wind. Spithill tried to hook Barker during the pre start to gain advantage, but Barker managed to prevent Oracle from gaining the overlap. Team New Zealand led over the line, and took a 3 second lead around the reach mark. The pivotal moment of the race came towards the end of the second leg. Team New Zealand were slightly ahead and tried to cross in front of Oracle who had the starboard tack advantage. Spithill had to evade the Kiwi boat, and gained a penalty for the infraction. With the boats still close heading into the leeward gate, Barker fluffed his lines, and Aotearoa ended up being forced to jibe twice in quick succession. Oracle sped away to begin the third leg leaving the Kiwis almost dead in the water. That was effectively the race, and Oracle confirmed their third point by 1:24 at the finish. The New Zealanders' largest defeat of the Cup to date brought the score to 3–8.[76][77]

Day 11: September 21[edit]

It had rained earlier in the day, with wind from the south, about 90 degrees from the desirable direction, at the time day eleven racing was scheduled to get underway. The race committee pushed the start back several times hoping that the wind would turn enough to allow racing. This did not happen by the start cut off time, and weather again forced postponement of the day's racing.[78][79]

Day 12: September 22[edit]

Racing on the 22nd of September brought the America's Cup into its third week, equalling the previous longest regatta in Cup history, the 31st America's Cup. A whale was also spotted in San Francisco Bay, bringing enough of a concern that it was tracked to ensure it would not affect racing.[80]

Race fourteen was another end to end win by Oracle. Starting in the leeward position, Spithill again luffed Barker hard substantially past the reach mark. This set up a strong lead for the first downwind beat. On the upwind leg Team New Zealand were able to close, and at one point had to dip under the American boat. They could not press the advantage however, and Oracle led well around the top mark. Team New Zealand once again closed right up to the American boat about halfway down the fourth leg, but could not make the pass. Oracle closed out the win by 23 seconds to bring the score to 4–8.[81][82]

Team New Zealand led off the line for race fifteen, but the leeward position of the Oracle Team USA boat allowed them to round the reach mark first. A huge downwind leg from the American boat saw them round the leeward gate 1 minute ahead of the Kiwis. They did not give up, and were able to cut Oracle's lead in half by the windward gate, but were unable to make up the rest of the gap. Oracle had their best day on the water yet, winning both races to bring the score to 5-8.[83]

Day 13: September 23[edit]

The start of race sixteen was delayed for 30 minutes while the race committee waited for the wind to increase. Emirates Team New Zealand took the leeward position at the start line but Oracle Team USA got onto its foils and sailed over on top of the Kiwis to lead by 5 seconds at the reach mark.[84] At the second mark the New Zealand team were 13 seconds behind Oracle and after a tacking duel upwind to the third mark Oracle was able to get the wind advantage for the downwind leg. Oracle sailed conservatively downwind gaining a 21 second lead for the fourth mark, which they extended to 33 seconds by finish line.[84] Oracle stayed alive 6–8 and trimmed the Kiwis' lead to just 2 points. It was their 5th straight win.[85]

The earlier delay meant no second race for the day, as it would have exceeded the cutoff of 2:40pm.[86]

Day 14: September 24[edit]

Race seventeen saw two penalties at the start against Emirates Team New Zealand. During the prestart Dean Barker made his move too early, allowing Spithill to hook Barker. Oracle then took full advantage of their windward-leeward right of way, forcing Barker to try and stay out of the way. Due to the extremely low boat speed at the time, Team New Zealand was unable, and there was contact between the two AC72's as a second penalty was awarded against the Kiwis.[87] By the time the penalties had been completed, Oracle had accelerated away to find themselves up by 18 seconds at the reach mark. Oracle built this to a 29-second lead to leeward gate although this was trimmed to 19 seconds at the end of the third leg. Oracle went on to win by 27 seconds and cut Team New Zealands lead to 7–8.[88][89]

"We're not going to stop--we're going to keep going all the way to the end", said Spithill. "We really want this. You can sense it on board".[90] Barker called this defeat "an absolute shocker" as he ended in "a really dead spot".[88]

In race eighteen the Kiwis led at the start and up to the first mark. They set the speed record of the series, reaching 47.57 knots (55 mph, 88 kph) as they rounded the mark, to lead by 5 seconds. They kept the lead during the first downwind run, but Oracle got ahead at the first crossing on the upwind leg after the Kiwis made a poor tack. Team New Zealand had starboard tack advantage and the lead at the time, but did not properly cover Oracle. The American boat was up on the foils, and powered past the Kiwis. Oracle went on to lead by 57 seconds at the windward gate and kept the lead for the rest of race, winning by 54 seconds.[88][91]

This result tied the series 8–8 and forced a winner-take-all race. Spithill called this win "very impressive" and said, "It gives us a lot of confidence going into tomorrow", saying that Wednesday will be "the most exciting day in the history of our lives. We wouldn't want to be anywhere else".[88]

Day 15: September 25[edit]

The final day of the 34th America's Cup brought only the third winner-takes-all match in Cup history (previous such matches had occurred in 1920 and 1983). Barker and Spithill have also both moved into the top 5 all time America's Cup skippers during this regatta.[92]

Team New Zealand had port entry advantage, and were able to convert this into the leeward position at the start line and a lead around the reach mark. Oracle had a moment where both bows dipped into the water, slowing them to open some separation between the two boats. The first downwind leg saw both boats foiling at around 40 knots (74 km/h; 46 mph), at times well within 100 metres (330 ft) of each other. Team New Zealand took the lead into the upwind third leg, but were unable to hold it.[93] Oracle once again showed their upwind foiling ability and were able to pass with ease. Team New Zealand and Barker refused to give up, but in the absence of any mistakes from Oracle, they confirmed their victory 9–8 by 44 seconds on the line to the cheers of the crowd.[94][95]

At the press conference following the race, Barker said his team was feeling "pretty smashed, they are feeling it pretty bad", whilst Spithill said Team NZ were a "tough team".[96][97][98]

AC72 safety[edit]

Main article: AC72

The power and speed of the catamarans used in the America’s Cup has attracted criticism since the AC72 rule was announced.[99] Oracle's first AC72 pitch-poled in October 2012 after only eight days of sailing. Though there were no injuries to the crew, the yacht was heavily damaged as the tide pulled it outside the bay into the Pacific Ocean. On May 9, 2013, Swedish team Artemis' first AC72 yacht flipped resulting in the death of Olympic gold medalist Andrew James Simpson.[100] Stephen Barclay, CEO of the America's Cup Event Authority, promised a full inquiry into the events leading to Simpson’s death and appointed a review committee to investigate both the Oracle and Artemis accidents, and to make recommendations for increasing the safety of the sailors.

Broadcasting[edit]

The NBC Sports Group acquired the American television broadcast rights in 2012, making it the first time the race would be on network TV since 1992.[101]

The first two races aired on NBC with subsequent races airing live on NBC Sports Network. The races were also broadcast live and available on demand on the official America's Cup YouTube channel.

To enhance television coverage, America's Cup officials developed LiveLine, a system that inserts graphics into live shots from helicopters similar to the first down line graphics system used on American football broadcasts. LiveLine would be used to show distance between boats, boat speed, course boundaries and marks, boat paths, wind speed and ocean current direction. Race yachts carried military grade GPS tracking and telemetry systems to enhance the accuracy of measurements.[102]

The system, developed by Sportvision, Inc., the America's Cup Event Authority, and NBC Sports Network, won the George Wensel Outstanding Technical Achievement Award at the 33rd Sports Emmy Awards.

International broadcasters[edit]

  • Worldwide: YouTube[103]
  • Host broadcaster: NBC, NBC Sports Network

North America[edit]

Europe[edit]

Asia and Oceania[edit]

South America[edit]

Africa and the Middle East[edit]

35th America's Cup[edit]

October 1, 2013 - Australia's Hamilton Island Yacht Club[104] was confirmed as the "Challenger of Record" for the 35th America's Cup.[105] Only moments after the win by USA team Oracle, Hamilton Island Yacht Club (HIYC), located on the edge of the Great Barrier Reef in Queensland, Australia issued its challenge for the 35th America’s Cup. The HIYC challenge has been accepted by the Golden Gate Yacht Club, which remains the Defender and Trustee of the world’s oldest international sporting trophy.[106] Australian billionaire Bob Oatley was said to be financially backing the Hamilton Island Yacht Club as the Challenger of Record for the 35th America's Cup.[107]

GGYC and HIYC expect to have a Protocol Governing the 35th America’s Cup, including dates, venue, boats and other details, agreed and published in the first few months of 2014.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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  11. ^ "The Protocol Governing the 34th America’s Cup Incorporating Amendments 1 through 18". CupInfo.com. CupInfo. June 26, 2013. Retrieved August 4, 2013.  Exceprt from the rules:
    29.2 AC72 Yacht Launch and Sailing Limits
    (a) Each Competitor may build, acquire or otherwise obtain a maximum of two new AC72 Yachts.
    (b) Competitors shall not Launch their first AC72 Yacht before 1 July 2012.
    (c) During the period 1July 2012 to 31 January 2013 (“the First AC72 Sailing Period”), a Competitor may sail their AC72 Yacht for a maximum of 30 days.
    (d) Competitors shall not launch their second AC72 Yacht before 1 February 2013.
    (e) During the period 1 February 2013 to 1 May 2013, Competitors may sail their AC72 Yachts for a maximum of 45 days per AC72 Yacht. Permitted sailing days may not be transferred between AC72 yachts.
    (f) From 1 May 2013 there shall be no restrictions on the number of days AC72 Yachts may be sailed.
    [subsections (g) and (h) not reproduced here]
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    106. Andrew Walker is excluded from further participation in any role in the 34th America’s Cup.…
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External links[edit]