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America's Cup Thread


First XV
TRF Legend
Aug 31, 2010
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New Zealand
game on in the Americas cup, and its full of Kiwis and Aussies.

two days gone, I need to have a look at how it is going to play out there is obviously a lot of racing to go.

talking point of day one seemed to be that BAR found boat speed that no one thought they had. Not dominant speed but just enough to make them competitive so it looks like the brits are in it too.

Talk of day two would be TNZ's speed and the swedes beating Oracle. Was interesting to see the French get one over the Swis and then they come back and beat Oracle.

NZ seem like the innovators and IMO despite the loss to oracle on day one they look the best overall so far. I thought that when TNZ and Oracle were on the same patch of water TNZ was faster and more polished, Oracle got the split and basically got lucky with a number of great shifts and one small mistake from TNZ to get ahead. I think when you consider that right now Oracle have more experience with the boat and more practice time in these seas/conditions right now they are the best prepared but over time I can see TNZ having the most potential.

barker/Japan look very fast but not as clean when maneuvering.

the racing is interesting, the big thing is that a mistake can cost dearly hundred for simple mistakes.
but there is an element of lottery as well. Shifts and pressure changes are also just as telling. leading boats can't afford to let a training boat split too far away. Forcing an extra move in most cases squares things up...

great stuff.
TNZ has two semi final races today and they take on Ben Ainslie's British challenge which looks a pretty sharp outfit.
Two races this evening GMT.
In the other semi; the Swedes take on Dean Barkers Japan team.
2 nil up over Ben Ainslie, it's a race to 5, a bit of luck for TNZ with poor old Ainslie breaking a wing on his vessel rounding the mark.
Si Ben Ainslie gets tossed overboard and out of the competition by Team New Zealand with a big 5-2 loss and in his gentemanly style he sailed up close to Team New Zealand and saluted them on the last race for the Brits of the `americas Challenger Cup.
Nice touch.
This is big boys racing and it takes a while to learn.
Ben will be back stronger and better.
ETNZ have looked great throughout and its looked like this was what was going to happen but you never know... its so good to see it play out on the water.
But also crazy to see during all of these finals series that one mistake can completely evaporate what seems like a unassailable lead, maybe you can even say the NZ's boat speed is so good that they can still comfortably win races where they make big mistakes. Shifts and pressure changes also have a massive impact.

I feel this situation is a hell of a lot different to San Francisco. Back then even though TNZ had such a massive lead there was a feeling that Oracle actually did have the better boat and all they really needed to do was figure out how to sail it and once they did they had a massive advantage.

This time ETNZ clearly have the more innovative design, they have had an advantage throughout the whole series and still managed to keep improving.
Oracle i think started out with a less innovative design, slightly less performance to start with and haven't been able to make the gains and improvements ETNZ have.

5 days is a long time and a lot can be done but I still struggle to understand how Oracle can come up with the boat speed they need before this weekend. Given they have basically had free reign to work on their boat and sailing and almost unlimited resources to do so since the end of the round robins, yet they have still come up short? What can they possibly do now? The one thing that they have now is the freedom to innovate, they have to be creative.

With ETNZ maybe the biggest gains they can have are through being a bit more conservative and learning from their mistakes, looking at the data from the last couple of days and seeing if they can improve their modes or make easier or more polished maneuvers. Look at the angles they use on starts, leg rounding and in particular finishes.

Surely both teams started this finals series with their best parts, I dont think either team has aces left to play. Oracle has to go and find some though.

Maybe the one thing Oracle can hope for is stronger winds. I think with all teams performance gaps narrows the stronger the wind gets.
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It has been funny watching the change in Jimmy Spithills face from just prior to the first race of the finals to now.... he's gone from being the grinning cheshire cat to looking worried, terse and anxious.
Even when they were 7-1 down in San Francisco he never looked as grumpy as this...
Still, they have enormous resources an they will be looking to come up with a more competitive edge in the light winds. They must at least be looking to increase their downwind speed where they used to have a clear advantage over all the other participants.

The weather is a little bit of a lottery for Oracle.
This time of the year light winds are the predominant weather condition around Bermuda.
7-11 knots
They were up at the higher mark of that yesterday and Team NZ looked very comfortable with that.
Higher winds will change the schematic but there is no guarantee that Oracle will have the upper hand upwind. These are the longest legs with the most tacks. The longer the leg and the more tacks the greater the chance that
In light airs they didn't even have the upper hand down wind (it was very even) and the Kiwi boat seemed to be able to point a little higher.

The point you made about Oracle having the faster boat last time is true. They flew an entire company of Kiwis based in Whangaparoa, (and their families) over to San Francisco in order to get them to fine tune the boat (they were the designers). They did it and we never had race speed after that.

There are a number of issues I have with the rules of the race.
1) Entrants are by country, as such there should be at least 50% crew (sailors on board the vessel, not shore bound support) from that country AND the skipper should be of the nationality of the entrant.
2) A 5 day lay off from racing is huge. A wealthy syndicate can build a new boat in that time. It rips the excitement out of proceedings. This is yachting not rugby.
A two day lay off would be better as a viewing spectacle. With a further 2-5 day lay off possible if weather conditions are not creating an environment for conditions that fit the race specifications.
Say 6-20 knots.
3) Being able to take a carry over a point advantage into the finals from the opening regatta when visiting teams are in the process of working out their modes. That's lame as it comes from the first regatta which is always going to favour the incumbent who has been sitting in the race zone practising and developing for four years.
yeah the 5 day lay is interesting and unusual and reaks of oracle tactics, being the team with the most resources and rules in their favor for things like spare boats they have the most to gain for lay days at this critical stage. It basically looks like oracle have put in these days for this very situation. Where they come out of the first races of the finals with a clear disadvantage, they maybe the only team with the resources and rules in their favor to be able to make up that deficit.

But this is americas cup and winning it as a challenger requires overcoming BS like this. But as you say it does kinda ruin the spectacle having this long wait.

On the bright side ETNZ will have a clear plan to put into action for these 5 days, they just have to deal with it and make as many improvements as they can while keeping an eye on what oracle are doing...

I almost dont want to say it but I just cant see what Oracle can do to close the gap and even that wont be enough they need to find enough speed to actually be faster now ETNZ have a 3 point lead. Also considering as you say the weather forecast and history seems to indicate that these lighter winds which NZ are so strong in are going to be the norm for the finals. I dont think there is one clear area which is giving NZ the advantage.

there is the cyclors which clearly helps. Clear advantages and marginal disadvantages.
the wing control system
the radical foils
the techniques used in maneuvers
and what seems like better teamwork and understanding within the team

how can oracle possibly make up the ground or better any of these areas?

funny, part of me actually thinks Artemis are a stronger package than Oracle. They beat oracle in the RR and even had a speed advantage over NZ in the reaches when they had smaller foils on than NZ. in race 3 and 4 oracle had their smaller foils on and still lost the sprint to the first mark both times.
I am wary of underestimating the power that nearly unlimited resources can bring in a 5 day period.
Russell Coutts is on deck at Oracle managing the changes and enhancements and that kinda rankles.
they are still fairly limited in what the can do. there are even rules around how much they can change things like foils etc. Adopting any of the innovations that make TNZ faster are simply impossible and somehow finding something else of their own in 5 days is just as unlikely.

Never say never I guess, TNZ couple pitch pole and miss 4 races, the conditions could change. Its just very unlikely.

I think everyone knows this isn't like San Fran. As I said, back then we got up 8-1 but I think we all knew Oracle had the better boat. Once they figured out how to sail it we were the ones in need of something miraculous.

This time around now both teams are well accustomed to their boat and sailing them close to their potential after weeks of racing and training and testing before that. As well as the preceding series in similar boats.

Oracle cant come back from here without TNZ having a disaster or two.
It's only 36 hours away and the weather forecast in that short time frame tends to be fairly accurate. The wind conditions for the weekend sailing in Bermuda is 8 knots gusting to 12. That sounds like it's right up TNZ's lighter wind alley.
Oracle are changing the way they set up their foils, they have changed their dagger boards and they are changing their sailing routine. If that makes them say 2% quicker then we are game on and the racing will be considerably closer, even in light winds.
If the wind picks up it will favour Oracle slightly more.
I'm still warily picking a victorious weekend of sailing for young Pete Burling and his mates.
Dennis Connor had an interesting comment.
He was saying that relocating to Bermuda has killed the American support for Team USA/Oracle.
The hotels are empty, the big cruise boats are missing and it's been a financial disaster for bermuda.
Team USA Oracle mount their comeback after TNZ make a serious mistake and let the Americans in on the last leg of the 5th race, it's 4-1 to NZ now after the 11 second loss to Oracle.

Lighter winds today might help the Kiwi boat to scoop two more points, here's hoping...
match point.

Oracle have clearly found speed, I would actually say they are just as fast and at times faster than ETNZ
that is some turnaround.

But so far that hasn't been enough for NZ to keep clean and mistake free. Winning the starts has been critical, it has forced USA to manoeuvre for splits and they doing so they have made mistakes and that has been the difference.

Winning these two races was critical. Think about how much time Oracle lost with the mistakes they made and to then only cross the line seconds behind shows just how fast they are right now. While its true NZ do burn some of their lead to stay between Oracle and the next mark. Unlike other teams NZ has faced when Oracle are behind they do make gains all the time.

These conditions are a bit shifty and patchy which does seem help the boat that's behind, at least gives them a chance.

The crazy thing is NZ won these two races today by sailing a lot better than Oracle. oracle actually looked like they had an edge in speed. Crazy crazy crazy!

The good thing for NZ is that while they may be a little down on speed to Oracle its still a contest. And if they pick the shifts and race clean they will get another win soon. Starts being critical, TNZ have picked the right time to find form for their starts.

Back up at 5am tomorrow! Glad its on and no lay day(s)
The crazy thing is NZ won these two races today by sailing a lot better than Oracle. oracle actually looked like they had an edge in speed. Crazy crazy crazy!

It was really interesting watching this morning. Several times, there was the usual graphic at the masthead of each boat's avatar showing the speeds boats were going at, and sea surface graphic showing 100m lines, and a counter showing the distance between them. This graphic combination was showing Oracle behind New Zealand by a couple of hundred metres, going 1-2 knots faster, but New Zealand was pulling away, increasing the distance. Now, what I know about yachting, you could scratch on back of an Aspirin using a prybar, but to me, that says the NZ boat is sailing closer into the wind than Oracle.

Last night, I was talking to a friend of mine who races Trimarans. He thinks Oracle have modified their rigging to get more boat speed, and while they understood the risk that it would sacrifice some stability and make the boat harder to sail, they haven't counted on a side effect that it has also made it difficult sail close to the wind (sailing in a higher mode he called it) because the boat is so unstable that they are having trouble keeping the bow pointed in the same direction (the bow wobbles to port and starboard) so if they get too close to the wind and they get a wobble towards the wind direction, they will lose boat speed so quickly that it will drop them off their foils...
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yeah they have surely changed their rudders and reduced drag but also reduced stability. potentially saling away from the wind more and on foils it may also mean that the wind pushes they away more and they kinda slide sideways a bit more.

it is great watching, I do find I miss watching the old mono's though, yeah these boats are fast but its not quite the same...
sleep in tomorrow :)

amazing win, I dont think it can be over estimated what a massive achievement this is and how big an accomplishment it is for this NZ boat to go out and be 1 knot faster and more stable than an Oracle backed USA boat. Team NZ is pretty special.

Red Socks time.
Basically, Kiwi ingenuity, added to the ice cold steel nerves of Burling, Tuke and Ashby beats Larry Ellison's bottomless well of money.
We did it.
We smashed them 8-1 (including the first race to negate their point gift from a previous regatta)
A massive achievement.
Hats off to team New Zealand.
In the final Oracle USA had the faster boat, but if you have to travel all that extra distance to get to the finish line, a slower boat that can point higher is going to get there first.
Clever team NZ.
David beats Goliath.

Most humble opponent, Ben Ainslie. What a nice fella.
He will be a force to reckon with when BAR head down to NZ. That bloke can sail.

Great to see the slime of Larry Ellison washed off the Cup. Framework contracts? Trying to strongarm the Americas cup into a catamaran cul de sac.
Stick it where the sun doesn't shine Ellison, you might have made all the other syndicates sign up but you couldn't make the minnows from NZ sign on the bottom line so lets get the monohulls back into production.
Jimmy Pitbull is history.

Lets get back to NZ and take the rules back to actual sailing , Monohulls, gennakers and spinnakers and gibs and halyards and keels and sail selection for the breeze encountered, some proper old school racing, lets put the rich kids toys away and get on with the real stuff.
Boats that more syndicates can afford.
Sure there is room for technological advances but lets get back to 'sailing'. A crew of 10 at least.
How about having people from the country entered, actually sailing on the boats. Rather than the plethora of hired guns. 10% only foreign crew maximum on the boats. 90% indigenous.
How about the boats from each country being built in their own country?
Make the races longer. Bermuda was showing 35 minutes for a race, and only two per day?
Thats hardly great for a public spectacle.
Races should be at least an hour long and let the boats get into tactical duels.
Standardise the hulls and lets see what the sailors can do to lift their game.
Game on in NZ and I'm gonna be home in Whangarei to enjoy it.
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calm down!
have to think about these rules, heck we dont want them all to build their own boats because a lot of them pay to get their boats built in NZ. A Rule like that would cripple the industry that has been created.

was interesting seeing the reaction of Dalton vs. Spithil
Jimmy has clearly had a bit of time to prepare for losing the cup and has gone out with a charm offensive, and lets face it hes has come across quite well.
Grant Dalton has clearly let some of his frustrations on dealing with Coutts/Oracle/Jimmy fly. But lets face it he deserves his chance to air his frustrations and have some public therapy, maybe get his own back.

That said it would be good to see the Americas cup return to more traditional match racing. This Americas cup format would be more suited to being called a Red Bull racing series or something. Without the ropes/actual sailors, sails and match racing its not really Americas cup. Sometimes change is good it enhances the experience for good, other times you change something its just not the same it becomes something else.
These are thoughts that have come out of the TNZ camp over the last ten years.

Ben Ainslie is pushing to keep matters multi-hull. I daresay that is because so much investment has alrready been made along those lines but ...

Cats are fun, but they're not glamorous and they don't have anything of the history and prestige that comes with the Americas Cup.
It's like comparing a muscle car with a Maybach.
Big monohulls with at least 10 crew please.
Nine of the crew being from the home country and preferably the boat built in the contenders country. Thats the hull.
Masts, rigging, sails, running gear, chandlery can be from anywhere...

The America's Cup has become far too corporate, it needs to house the financing in the hold and push forward a bow wave of individuality that represents the country of origin.
TNZ did that perfectly.

Where was the Aussie syndicate?
Since Alan Bond first wrested the Cup away from America it feels like there should always be an Aussie contender. There should always be a British contender as well. The Brits have noticeably absent until recent times. I daresay there will always be American contenders and thats a good thing. Great to see Italy interested. What about China, a massive economy that is looking to enhance their international reputation.
Spain , Portugal and Holland? Once great maritime countries.
The Cup needs a more international flavour.
It needs to add to the usual suspects.

I'd like to see a big pre LV regatta where the teams can line up against each other and go hard out, and have a plate final as well asa regular final so the lesser developed teams have something to aim for and potentially enhance their boats and sailing befopre the main event.

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