Say what you will about Larry Ellison and the manner in which he chose to defend the 34th America’s Cup, but I can tell you this: The man knows how to command attention. Of course, this is far easier done for a guy who is reportedly worth more than the Federal Reserve than it is for your average regatta director, but Ellison and his public relations teams have done an impressive job of transforming a city into a foiling circus.
Sporting fortunes are often won and lost in mere seconds. Today, Oracle Team USA—Defenders of the 34th America’s Cup—experienced a humiliating loss to Emirates Team New Zealand (ETNZ) in the span of mere boat lengths, all tripped by two simple words: foiling tack.
The fog at Mark Four. When Oracle Team USA flew out of the fog before sprinting across the finish in the final race on Day Two, it was like watching a ghost emerge from the great beyond. Wicked cool. Way to set the stage for some serious drama, San Francisco.
Have the winds of fortune shifted in the 34th America’s Cup? It depends on what portion of today’s races you watched.
Take the starts. Jimmy Spithill, skipper of Oracle Team USA, won both, employing his signature hyper-aggressive, match-racing moves. In Race Three, Spithill even forced Dean Barker, the skipper of Emirates Team New Zealand (ETNZ), into suffering the regatta’s sole on-the-water penalty (to date), but these chess moves weren’t enough when the two boats entered into a classic tacking duel that saw ETNZ roll the Americans.