Emirates Team NZ Stole the Show in Bermuda
“With greater ingenuity, a faster platform, and the determination to bring the America’s Cup back to Auckland, Emirates Team New Zealand stole the show in Bermuda,” writes Dave Reed in an article for Sailing World.
After arriving into Bermuda “casually late”, the New Zealand team “got right to business,” writes Reed. While “they didn’t waste a dime gussying up their base,” you couldn’t miss them as “the big red wing of the 50-foot catamaran went skyward at 0900” each morning throughout the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup Challenger Series and the 35th America’s Cup Match. “Soon after, the sailors would pass by, dressed for the morning practice session, flashing wry smiles and quick nods of acknowledgement: no high-fives, no autographs and certainly no showboating.”
“The uncompetitive French and British syndicates were dismissed in the opening rounds of the series. SoftBank Team Japan was next leaving Artemis Racing as the lone worthy rival to the New Zealanders,” according to the article.
“In what was the closest racing of the entire regatta, ETNZ emerged a faster, battle-hardened squad, plenty ready to take on its nemesis,” writes Reed. “Team New Zealand dominated both of the opening races from start to finish.” And the following day “Oracle had no response to Emirates Team New Zealand’s offensive either.”
During a five-day break in the action Oracle “mined its notebooks for solution” and tried to reduce weight. When they returned “for the second weekend of the series down four races” they were “slightly more confident in their boat”, but Emirates Team New Zealand was surgical in its win.”
“The Kiwis began the next day with another convincing win, and looked to continue their sweep in the second until Oracle took control of the race when the New Zealanders missed a windshift. As far as the New Zealanders were concerned, they gave that one away,” as reported in the article.
“Pressure and control were never a concern for the Kiwis. Their sophisticated and manually driven daggerboard autopilot system, as well as Ashby’s dynamic wing controls, allowed them to effectively divide the labor on board.”
“It’s how we envisioned the boat from the outset… Having the cyclers producing plenty of power and having the ability to control either foil from either side of the boat gave us a huge advantage for tactical options and the ability to easily pull off consistent maneuvers without much warning,” said ETNZ coach Ray Davies.
On the penultimate day Peter Burling “finally showed Spithill who was boss,” writes Reed. “In the most telling moment of the match, Burling foiled into a leeward hook in the start of the day’s second race, and as he glided to leeward, spitting distance from Oracle’s port hull, he took his right hand off the steering wheel, glanced over at his rival and gave a mocking wave…. Off sped the New Zealanders to another trouncing, bringing the series to 6-to-1 and match point.”
Less than 24 hours later in Leg 2 of Race 9, as Oracle led the New Zealanders toward the first boundary after Mark 1 with a 10-meter lead, the team delivered “the decisive blow to Oracle Team USA in a move they’d practiced many times but never had the chance to deliver in a race,” reports the article.
“The playbook says he who jibes first gets the jump, and racing sailors know the move well as the “no-look jibe.” They trained for this exact scenario knowing that the team that follows through Mark 1 has to beat the boat ahead to the jibe. As was the case throughout this lopsided series, Oracle didn’t see it coming, was late to react, and slow out of its jibe,” reports the article.
“Behind the sailors of Emirates Team New Zealand is team of teams, one that crafted the most technical boat the America’s Cup had ever seen. As with all other challengers left in Emirates Team Zealand’s wake, the 35th defender never stood a chance. They had the wrong tool for the job.” “From the isolation of the proud Kiwi Nation came a squad that was determined, one that dared to be to different, and the tool they brought to Bermuda was a masterpiece of innovation”, writes Reed.
Article Source: Sailing World, Dave Reed, October 11, 2017
Image Source: Twitter – EmiratesTeamNZ