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.