Wednesday, July 30, 2014

America’s Cup: Improbable comeback sets up winner-take-all finale

AC - R17

FANS cheer Tuesday's American victory at America's Cup Park in San Francisco. Photo by ACEA/Gilles Martin-Raget

From page A8 | September 25, 2013 |

SAN FRANCISCO — One of the greatest comebacks in sport occurred on San Francisco Bay, Tuesday, when Oracle Team USA (OTUSA) came back from an 8-1 deficit to win seven straight races and tie Emirates Team New Zealand (ETNZ) in the 34th America’s Cup (AC34).

It’s unexpected for a sailboat to win so many races in a row, especially when its competition is so evenly matched. Few of those knowledgeable about the sport of sailing thought it possible for OTUSA to come back from so great a deficit.

After the racing ended on Tuesday, New Zealand wing trimmer Glenn Ashby quipped that all the racing leading up to this moment was just “training. The regatta starts tomorrow.”

AC34 has now set a record as the longest America’s Cup. It is also proving to be the most thrilling. People who’ve never watched sailing have been coming out to watch the races. Sacramentans Raz Ionita, 36, his wife Andra, 28, and her twin sister Andrea, were there to watch OTUSA even the score. They had never watched a sailboat race until two weeks ago and have attended every America’s Cup race, since. Raz said, “We have to keep it (the cup) at home.”

A couple of weeks ago, you had to search to find spectators holding American flags at America’s Cup Park (Piers 27 and 29). Most of the fans were Kiwis, wearing black shirts and waving their blue national flag. Now, Americans are streaming onto the pier with stars and stripes flying. As OTUSA knotched its ninth win, a steady flow of San Franciscans came down to watch huge monitors and cheer on the American boat. American skipper Jimmy Spithill said the turnout has been noticed, “The whole of San Francisco is coming down to support us, the whole of the nation is watching.”

What they saw on Tuesday was a dominant performance by OTUSA. In the first of two must-win races, Spithill maneuvered USA 17 below New Zealand’s Aotearoa, gaining favored position and causing NZ skipper Dean Barker to foul the American boat twice. Following the race, Barker admitted he’d botched it saying, “I made a really bad job of the start that took us out of the race.”

In the second race, the Kiwis won the start and led through the reaching mark to leeward mark two, but then leading upwind, tacked ahead of the overtaking American boat, but not close enough to it to foul its air. From that point on, OTUSA sailed away from the Kiwis with such epic speed that it led by over 1,000 meters before turning for home and its tenth win of the regatta.

The few Kiwi fans that remain at America’s Cup Park (the regatta has lasted longer than their hotel or flight reservations allowed) are disheartened. Dan Cardiff, 31, of Nelson, NZ said, “We need to change our boat. Oracle is way faster. Even when we won the start, we couldn’t keep the pressure on. The Americans are so bloody fast.”

As for the American fans, Jay Conners, 49, of Richmond summarized the feeling, “The longer it goes, the better it gets.”

Asked if he still thinks OTUSA is the underdog, Spithill replied, “Yeah, I think we are. I’m just going to keep running with that” despite having won seven straight. Spithill sees OTUSA as still coming back from a capsize that destroyed their first boat during training, the loss of key crewmen and a two-point deficit incurred as a result of penalties judged against OTUSA, and performance problems experienced early in the America’s Cup. As for what keeps the US team going, he said, “You can either get wobbly at the knees or stare down the barrel of the gun.”

In contrast, New Zealand media are comparing the string of recent losses by ETNZ, after dominating early races, as similar to the collapse of the dominant All Blacks (New Zealand’s national rugby team) in championship matches.

Barker responds, “We got beaten today and that’s tough, but we know we can win this. We have all the same gears; it’s being able to check into those gears at the right time.”

While both skippers vow to fight to the end, the difference is that Barker seems amazed they aren’t winning, while Spithill is driven to “Finish it off. The guys want it. You can sense it all around.”





District 2 candidate statements tell of goals

By Dawn Hodson | From Page: A1

Sand Fire nears containment: 66 structures destroyed

By Cole Mayer | From Page: A1 | Gallery

Schedule for Highway 50 blasting closures

By News Release | From Page: A3

Tails wagging over dog park approval

By Julie Samrick | From Page: A3

Quarter-acre fire in Kelsey

By Rebecca Murphy | From Page: A3



My Turn: Privatization of public services

By Mark Belden | From Page: A4

Policy book

By Mountain Democrat | From Page: A4



Comments sign-in policy

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5, 1 Comment

Save the Guinea Worm

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5, 1 Comment

Large bangs

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5, 2 Comments

Private property gets no respect

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5

GDPUD management report

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5

District 2 supervisorial special election

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5

Piano replaced

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5



Ex-Bruin lends a helping hand

By Steven Shaff | From Page: A8 | Gallery

Sierra Sharks finish middle of the pack

By Democrat Staff | From Page: A8

Roundup: July 29, 2014

By Democrat Staff | From Page: A8

Taz pull through for SSL trophy

By Patty Pope | From Page: A8



Nuns discover a pleasant place

By Lexi Boeger | From Page: B1 | Gallery

At a glance: Game time

By Mimi Escabar | From Page: B2

Barbecue dinner to benefit Blue Star Moms

By Mount Aukum Winery | From Page: B2

Bargains can be found everywhere

By Democrat Staff | From Page: B2 | Gallery

Stagecoach story takes riders on a trip

By Wendy Schultz | From Page: B3

Help needed to make cool ties

By Sew 4 | From Page: B3

Stroke and osteoporosis screenings planned

By Life Line Screening | From Page: B3

Gold Rush Days activities cancelled this year

By Sacramento Convention And Visitors Center | From Page: B4

Master Food Preservers: Tomato time

By Monique Wilber | From Page: B4

Build an author platform at the Library

By El Dorado | From Page: B5

Sacramento area museums offer summer fun

By Sacramento Association Of Museums | From Page: B5



Weather stats 7-29-14

By Michael Raffety | From Page: A2

Building permits 6/2-6/2014

By Michael Raffety | From Page: A2Comments are off for this post

Crime Log: July 17

By Cole Mayer | From Page: A2



Wallace Murrel Thomas

By Contributor | From Page: A2

Merlyn Wilbur Adams

By Contributor | From Page: A2

Lisa Oliver Rose

By Contributor | From Page: A2


Real Estate