Exciting America’s Cup!

ETNZ and Oracle cross on the upwind leg of race one Saturday (9/7). Photos: Mike Ferring

ETNZ and Oracle cross on the upwind leg of race one Saturday (9/7). Photos: Mike Ferring

The opening day was warm and windy, the Bay was flecked with spectator boats and the much-awaited 34th America’s Cup lived up to its slogan: The World’s Fastest Boats, The World’s Best Sailors. By the end of the day, Emirates Team New Zealand had stamped its brand on the competition, leading two races to, well, minus two. (Oracle Team USA had been penalized two points before the racing even began.)

Lots of AYC members were drawn to the finals (more than we can reliably count) but a bunch of us watched the exciting match racing Sunday from the Jeremiah O’Brien liberty ship at pier 45, cheering to match racing at sailboat mach speed. After Oracle Team USA tried to keep up with ETNZ on a tacking duel in the first of the Sunday races and failing, they opted for a flat-out sprint in the second race, ignoring an ETNZ invitation to duel and pulling out a small victory.

If you were there or if you watched the excellent TV coverage, you know the story: boats traveling at 50+ miles per hour downwind, perched on tiny foils as 11 sailors on each boat try to control the beasts, smoothly jibing 14,000 pound cats with 130-foot wings with supreme skill and smoothness. Just watching the boats is thrilling; watching them actually match race defies belief.

Rob Gibbs tracks the action on his AC app with Kim Olson-Gibbs.

Rob Gibbs tracks the action on his AC app with Kim Olson-Gibbs.

Kelly Beaver snaps a shot of the beautiful Bay.

Kelly Beaver snaps a shot of the beautiful Bay.

Emory Heisler and Tony Chapman watch the monsters joust.

Emory Heisler and Tony Chapman watch the monsters joust.

Maryellen Ferring and the former David Rawstrom on deck the Jeremiah O'Brien. (A longtime AYCer, David moved to the East last year.)

Maryellen Ferring and the former David Rawstrom on deck the Jeremiah O’Brien. (A longtime AYCer, David moved to the East last year.)