Racing on this day was affected by a flood tide which limited passing opportunities for the trailing boat. It was vital to win the start, defend Leg 2 and keep your opponent behind you in the early stages of Leg 3 which would reduce the window of opportunity for the trailing boat to pass.
Things didn’t go well for ETNZ right off the bat when they incurred two penalties before they even got out of the starting box. At Mark 1 there was a 16-second delta between the boats and by the next gate the lead had grown to 530 meters. New Zealand did manage to close the gap on Leg 3 to about 120 meters.
Despite posting some impressive speeds, ETNZ never overcame the margin created by the bad start. The boats were so closely matched by this point in the series that catching up when behind was increasingly harder to manage. USA won by 27 seconds bringing the scoreboard to 8 to 7.
Race 18 started out as an absolute nail-biter for Oracle fans as New Zealand won the 52-mph drag race to Mark 1 and took the lead on Leg 2. On the upwind leg, a slow tack by ETNZ let Oracle close the gap and when New Zealand tried to tack in front of Oracle the Americans just rolled right over the top of them. The two boats then tacked in unison, Oracle took the lead and never looked back. After that point, every time the two boats crossed Oracle’s lead had increased by another 25 meters. The delta between the two boats at the finish was an astonishing 56 seconds.
Here are today’s trivia questions:
Race 17: Only one other series in America’s Cup history had lasted as long as the 2013 race. What year did it happen and who were the competitors?
Race 18: The top speed of the AC72 was reached during this race. Which team did it and how fast were they going?