Challenger Emirates Team New Zealand won Race 5 of the 34th America's Cup convincingly, and then Defender ORACLE TEAM USA used its one and only "postponement card" to try and put a halt to the Kiwi's winning ways.
Emirates Team New Zealand leads the series 4-0 after today's victory by 1 minute, 5 seconds. The winner of the 34th America's Cup will be the first team to win 9 points. For the Kiwis that means six additional race wins and for ORACLE TEAM USA it means 10, due to a penalty imposed by the International Jury.
Both teams are allowed one postponement card and may use it only to postpone a day's second race, regardless of the reason. ORACLE TEAM USA skipper Jimmy Spithill said it was a collective decision by the onboard crew to request Race 6 is postponed until Thursday.
"We need to go back and regroup. We feel they have an edge on us at the moment, especially upwind,"
said Spithill. "We need to do a bit of work here and we're going to play the card, strategically, and hopefully improve in time for the next race."
The strategic decision came after Emirates Team New Zealand sailed past ORACLE TEAM USA from behind on the upwind leg. The defender won the start of Race 5, coming off the start line to windward of the Kiwis and leading at the first two mark roundings.
But on the 3-nautical-mile upwind leg, Emirates Team New Zealand sailed past the defender after just two tacks in little more than three minutes of sailing. In the lead, the challenger left the defender in its wake, sailing higher and faster to complete the leg 85 seconds sooner.
"It wasn't just upwind performance. There were a couple of mistakes there, tacking as well, which is something we need to address,"
said Spithill. "We need to up our game. We're not going to hide from that. We're going to go away and do what we can to be ready for the next one."
The loss was particularly tough for the defender to take because ORACLE TEAM USA had been leading. Again. Spithill and mates got off the start line to windward and rolled the Kiwis into the first turning mark. They added 4 seconds to their lead on the downwind leg for an 8-second lead at the leeward gate and then, as Spithill noted, they were under pressure.
"We're very pleased to take the win,"
said Barker. "It's difficult because those guys are getting off the line well and leading at Mark 1, so they get to dictate a little bit what's going on down the run. We'll work to improve that and try to get around Mark 1 in front a couple of times.
"But the boat's going very well upwind,"
Barker continued. "The guys are doing a really, really good job with tacking and maneuvers, and we're taking some nice gains. We can't be ahead all the time, and with that we have to make sure we're close enough to keep the race alive."
Racing resumes on Thursday with Races 6 and 7, scheduled for 13:15 and 14:15 local time.
34th America's Cup Standings (first to 9 points wins)
• Emirates Team New Zealand - 4
• ORACLE TEAM USA - 0
Race 5 Performance Data
• Course: 5 Legs/10.27 nautical miles
• Elapsed Time: ETNZ - 22:45, OTUSA - 23:50
• Delta: ETNZ +1:05
• Total distance sailed: ETNZ - 11.4 NM, OTUSA - 11.5 NM
• Average Speed: ETNZ - 30.21 knots (35 mph), OTUSA - 29.17 knots (33 mph)
• Top Speed: ETNZ - 46.94 knots (54 mph), OTUSA - 44.93 knots (52 mph)
• Windspeed: Average - 20 knots, Peak - 24.1 knots
Upcoming America's Cup Schedule
• Thursday, Sept. 12: Race 6 (1:15 pm PT), Race 7 (2:15 pm PT)
• Saturday, Sept. 14: Race 8 (1:15 pm PT), Race 9 (2:15 pm PT)
• Sunday, Sept. 15: Race 10 (1:15 pm PT), Race 11* (2:15 pm PT)
• Monday, Sept. 16: Race 12* (1:15 pm PT)
• Tuesday, Sept. 17: Race 13* (1:15 pm PT), Race 14* (2:15 pm PT)
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