The wind conditions on Day 13 would again play a role in the race. The start was postponed but when it did begin there was a distinct difference between the two boats. ETNZ, expecting light winds, started with their Code Zero hoisted, but furled, while Oracle sailed with their longer bowsprit but didn’t hoist the big sail. This meant New Zealand was sailing with a bit of extra drag.
After crossing the starting line OTUSA-17 was the first boat up on its foils and the Americans quickly accelerated to Mark 1. After the rounding New Zealand deployed its Code Zero but it didn’t seem to make any difference as Oracle continued to pull away. The Americans were actually able to foil without the Code Zero while ETNZ seemed to have trouble getting their starboard hull out of the water even with the extra sail area.
It didn’t get any better for ETNZ. While they did manage to keep the race close, it just seemed as though the Americans had a much easier time getting the boat to foil in the light air. Oracle displayed consistently higher speed and with good communication at the stern, their tactics were spot on. Oracle Team USA won Race 16 by 33 seconds bringing the scoreboard to 8 to 6.
At the post race press conference when Spithill was asked if the team was frustrated by the pre-series penalty (being docked two point before the Cup started for inconsistencies with their World Series boat) he responded: “It’s not frustrating, it’s motivating, to be honest. When it’s very difficult and challenging, that’s when it’s the most rewarding. You have to play the cards you’re dealt. We’re not going to make excuses; we’re going to work hard.”
Here is today’s trivia question:
Race 16: Jimmy Spithill seems to be the type of guy who is motivated by being told he can’t do something and by extension motivates his teammates by never giving up. What physical disability did Spithill overcome despite a doctor’s insistence that “it is unlikely he will ever be any good at sports”?