In A Corner
So we have the defender of the America’s Cup bloodied and cornered and ready to try something new, if the jungledrums are echoing off the canyons correctly.
That is, it’s not a good look to be doing boat mods in the middle of the 34th match. “Minor modifications” was the word from the team. But Oracle Team USA has nothing to lose. The true competitor wakes up in the morning expecting to win. There is no other mindset. Or as Spithill put it after losing two on Thursday to go down six races to minus one, “Imagine if those guys lost from here. What an upset that would be . . . I’d like to be part of that.”
If Dean Barker and Team New Zealand were in that corner, he’d be talking the same way.
Meanwhile, I’ve noticed that changing tacticians didn’t change outcomes for Oracle, and if the penalties had been reversed coming into this deal, Emirates Team New Zealand would be up, 4-1. The Oracle guys have a tight circle around Kyle Langford. They have his back. Good on them, and I don’t want to pick on him because I just don’t know, but
It’s no small matter to lose your veteran first-string wing trimmer the week before the regatta. According to the jury’s own statement, “The Jury has no intention to impose a penalty that will determine the outcome of the match.” But baby, you may’a done exactly that.
Which then forces the counter question, could any trimmer be making the difference in the way that Oracle is 25-50 percent slower through the tacks? It’s not a question for a flatfoot reporter to answer. Leg 3, upwind, is where ETNZ eats the defender alive. The only upwind of the course. And if there had been an additional upwind leg, I’m not so sure that Oracle would have won the only race they’ve won so far.
One certainty: If Oracle can pull out a win in today’s first race they will light this thing up all over again. The home towners are looking for a reason to cheer. The crowds are out, buzz is buzzing, and from our sputtering start with the challenger processionals, oops, I mean, eliminations, we have America’s Cup racing for real.
Gray skies overhead in the Golden Gate Strait in the early morn, leaves already stirring and all the signs agreeing with wind forecasts into the twenties today. Combine a 21.7 knot wind limit for the first race of the day over an ebb of 1.3 knots, and any local will tell you we can hope to get in one race, but don’t bet the farm that the second race of the day will actually happen.
Hey, Reader Folks
It feels strange that I haven’t been much with you in this, but I’ve been very much on the scene and taken up doing live commentary and running this way and that. Haven’t wanted to throw up cheap posts that add nothing to the general run. Speaking of run . . .