Oracle Team USA sailed “low and fast” in eight consecutive races to foil New Zealand’s America’s Cup dream
The 34th America’s Cup was supposed to be the most spectacular ever. It almost went down in Cup history as the biggest bomb ever. Instead it will rank as one of sports’ most improbable comebacks: Oracle Team USA fights back from an 8-1 deficit to snatch the Auld Mug from Emirates Team New Zealand, 9-8.
I was in San Francisco for the first week of the America’s Cup doing a fair amount of corporate entertainment. Running back and forth from Pier 27 to the Marina Green, to Crissy Field, the top of the Transamerica building, St. Francis Yacht Club and out on the water, I saw the racing from many vantage points.
Incredibly, they were all great, proving that San Francisco is truly an amphitheater for sailing.
The 34th America’s Cup in San Francisco was certainly exciting to watch. The two high-tech catamarans competing at speeds often in excess of 40 knots were close enough in performance to make it a very tight match. The script could not have been written any better, with Oracle down 8-1 and staging a comeback to beat the Kiwis in the last and deciding race for a 9-8 series win.
First, I should say that having raced in eight America’s Cup campaigns and having qualified to race in five America’s Cup finals from 1980 to 2003 doesn’t necessarily qualify me to speculate on the future of the Cup.
In the past, the America’s Cup has been about nationality, technology and team and generally has been raced by relatively “financially equipped” enthusiasts.
Oracle Team USA truly did accomplish one of sport’s greatest comebacks. Keeping the Cup when they were down 8-1 was like a winning touchdown pass with five seconds remaining or a grand slam to rally when you’re four runs behind. Americans love an underdog, especially one with the grit and skill to overcome big odds.
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