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#AmericasCup - Andrew 'Bart' Simpson died from "blunt trauma with drowning" after the Artemis Sailing catamaran capsized and broke apart during training ahead of the America's Cup this summer.

That was finding of the medical examiner's report into the tragic incident on 9 May released last week, as Euronews reports.

The 36-year-old double Olympic medalist suffered multiple head blows when the 72-foot racing vessel capsized on top of him during a training run on San Francisco Bay.

As previously reported on, Simpson was trapped beneath the boat and died despite desperate efforts to revive him. All other members of the 11-strong crew of the AC72 were recovered.

However, report into Simpson's death did not establish the exact sequence of events the led to the capsize, nor explain why Simpson was unable to get out from under the vessel.

And its findings have been disputed by Chuck Hawley, one of the America's Cup incident investigation panel, who believes the catamaran's main crossbeam broke before the boat collapsed on itself, trapping Simpson within the structure.

Euronews has much more on the story HERE.

Published in America's Cup

#americascup – If the 36th America's Cup is staged at Hamilton Island, it will continue a long story, started from the Isle of Wight in 1851. W M Nixon introduces this exotic venue, then ponders the ultimate seaworthiness of multihulls. 

We signed off here on this sailing blog a fortnight ago with the admission that the sacredly monstrous America's Cup in its new form for the 34th Edition has got us hooked, as indicated by our own and general global interest in that key question: "What happens next?" That was Saturday September 28th. We didn't have long to wait. On Monday September 30th, it was announced that Hamilton Island Yacht Club of Australia has been accepted by cup holders Golden Gate Yacht Club as the Challenger of Record for the 35th America's Cup.

Hamilton what? Where island? Is it somewhere comparable to the Isle of Wight, where it all started way back in 1851 with the race round the island for the Hundred Guineas Cup? For once, we were ahead of the posse without having to go to google. Back in 2007, Gordon Maguire was signed up as lead helmsman on Mike Slade's 100ft Leopard for a serious tilt at the Fastnet Race record. But that was the year that the start was postponed for 25 hours because of a Force 9 sou'wester. And Maguire's window of opportunity to do the Fastnet was very narrow, as he was contracted to be at some event called Hamilton Island Race Week to skipper Matt Allen's Ichi Ban immediately afterwards.

He took a look at the new schedules, and reckoned the Fastnet start delay ruled him out, and flew out for Australia. But Leopard still broke the record. Yet all we can really remember about it now is it was the year Ger O'Rourke's Chieftain was Fastnet Race overall winner, and that this Hamilton Island place with its race week must have something very special going for it.

Five years down the line, it's more special than ever. Hamilton Island is owned by veteran campaigner Bob Oatley, a serial entrepreneur whose sailing credentials have been firmly established with a long string of boats called Wild Oats, with his current hundred footer Wild Oats XI holding the Sydney-Hobart Race record. Hamilton Island resort is one of his pet projects. For some of us, the fact that the daytime temperature seldom goes below 26 degrees is a distinct drawback, but others will think it paradise. It's among the Whitsunday Islands on the Great Barrier Reef coast of Queensland, and the Australian distances are enormous – you're talking about a dozen hours of steady driving north from Brisbane.

Every America's Cup location should have at least one picnic site. Hamilton Island has all the facilities for the big one

Thus everybody hopes to fly there, as it has its own airport where the runway comes in one side of the island, and goes out the other. It's right beside the harbour, thus it's possible to get sailing immediately to avoid having the temperature floor you. And if you're minded to sail round the island to celebrate getting there, it shouldn't take too long, as Hamilton Island is just three miles long by two miles wide, though it's so indented with bays that it's only two square miles in all, about twice the size of Lambay.

That said, as it's among the coral of the Great Barrier Reef, not all the sailing around Hamilton Island is as straightforward as getting round Lambay. For even if you avoid Plum Pudding Reef and Fitzalan Reef and Hamilton Island Reef itself, and then keep clear of Perseverance Reef and Young Island Reef, there's still Surprise Rock Reef waiting to...well, surprise you.

But the word is the yacht club is very fully appointed, and just itching to host the America's Cup eight years down the line. However, what form the America's Cup will be eight years hence is anyone's guess, and currently it's open season in the global comment and criticism stakes, with advocates of multi-hulls in a defiant "We told you so" frame of mind as the world of sailing grudgingly admits that the 72ft foiling catamarans in the 34th America's Cup brought the thing to life.

Instinctive multi-hull resistance is nothing new. The Polynesians and other Pacific islanders may have been merrily trundling around their nice warm ocean for centuries on multihulls of all types, but attempts to transfer the concept to colder waters failed to do the business for many years. Way back in 1663, that extraordinary polymath William Petty, the man who created the Down Survey which tabulated Ireland, tested his own-designed catamaran Simon & Jude (which he'd had built in Dublin) in the Liffey and on Dublin Bay, and the new machine out-sailed a ship's gig and a "pleasure boatte" of renowned performance. The Simon & Jude was re-created for Hal Sisk by master shipwright John O'Reilly in Dublin in 1991, and a race was staged with one of the Bantry Boats and a little Dutch cutter enthusiastically playing the roles of the opposition, but the S & J outsailed them both.

Ireland's first multi-hull, the Simon & Jude of 1663, was re-created by Hal Sisk in 1991 to re-stage her initial race when she comfortably outsailed a ship's gig, re-enacted here by one of the Bantry boats. Photo: W M Nixon

However, the concept soon came up against the ultimate seaworthiness trial after Petty built The Experiment, a much larger catamaran with accommodation. She certainly outsailed the Dublin-Holyhead packet boat by a significant amount, but failed to return from a test venture into the Bay of Biscay, and the old salts happily stuck with their traditional mono-hull craft.

In subsequent centuries the idea arose again from time to time, and in 1870 a Belfast amateur sailor, John MacKenzie, created the 21ft Jumelle, with a twin hulls of sufficiently modern appearance to make the classic 1870s gaff cutter rig fitted to her seem bizarre. By all accounts she could sail well in a straight line – speeds of ten knots were reported – but despite it being a time when yachting was developing rapidly, the people spending the money were notably conservative, and the Belfast Lough yachting establishment stayed determinedly with their mono-hulled cutters, schooners, ketches and yawls.

John MacKenzie of Belfast designed and built the 21ft catamaran Jumelle in 1870, and achieved speeds of 10 knots.

This conservatism was also found in America. When the 28-year-old designer Nathanael Herreshoff turned up with his new catamaran Amaryllis for the American Centennial Regatta at Staten Island in 1876 and won in very convincing style, catamarans were promptly banned from all future events. But in truth it was only with the development of lighter building methods and more advanced engineering that multihulls could really show their full potential, and it wasn't until the 1960s with innovators such as the late great Dick Newick that serious offshore racing multihulls finally began to gain traction.

Let's face it, we'd all love multihulls and would happily tear about the seas with them, if two very fundamental problems could be solved. Firstly, how do you find a berth for them when they're twice the area of monohulls of similar size, and sometimes aren't the best at manoeuvring in confined space. And secondly, how can you get round the fact that they are even more stable upside down than they are right way up, and are completely lacking in the mono-hull's self-righting ability?

Putting these problems aside for the moment, there are some very attractive cruising multihulls, and for some time – particularly before I got hip and knee replacements when boats heeling over used to be a pain – I fancied, and still do, the Dragonfly range built in Denmark. We've something of an inside track on the Dragonfly 920 as two of the Howth diaspora, Johnny Malcolm and Black Bob Fannin, crew with Roland Sharp who has his Dragonfly 920 Ischnura based in the Thames Estuary, and they have now and again speeded round to Cowes to do the Round the Island Race with quite a modicum of success.

The Danish-built trimaran Dragonfly 920 is one of Europe's most successful multihull performance cruisers

In 2011 they won the multihull division, and last year they came second. That race of 2012 was memorable, as Ben Ainslie was helming the mighty Eleanor, the re-creation of the legendary Westward, the 135ft Herreshoff schooner of 1910 vintage. This awesome vessel started in the early morning before the multihulls, slugging westward down the Solent in majestic style, but the cheeky little Ischnura was past her before the Needles despite breaking a jib sheet which cost her the win in her class, but she still was a good second.

This gives a hint of the Dragonfly's performance potential. She was hitting 15 to 20 knots comfortably round the back of the island, and having started at 0600, they'd finished the 50-mile circuit course by 1130. Ischnura is the version known as the Dragonfly 920 EX (which is Extreme if you really want to know), but though she's optimised for performance with extra sail area, she still has the advantage of being based around a single central hull which can be utilised to provide much better accommodation than a catamaran of the same 30ft size, for it's said that you need to go to 40ft or even 50ft before you can start putting decent accommodation in a catamaran.

Berthing problems solved. The Dragonfly can fold her wings.

Thanks to swing wings, the Dragonfly range can halve their beam to come into a marina berth. The builders claim it can all be done from the cockpit taking a minute for each side, which is probably rather faster than the raising of the bowsprit by a gaffer in order to reduce overall length for berthing purposes. So with beam reduced and a light overall weight, the Dragonfly is also a proposition for easy trailing. In all, an attractive package, but building light and strong is expensive, as is providing the engineering for the swing wings, so it has to be faced that an almost-new Dragonfly 920EX sold recently for €142,000, which you can compare at your leisure with boats of similar accommodation, and reach your own conclusions.

But putting the price aside, and having dealt with the berthing problem, what's the situation regarding scary sailing? This week's vid of Jeanne-Pierre Dick's MOD 70 capsizing is a reminder of the ultimate vulnerability of multihulls, but in sailing Ischnura in a wide variety of situations, Johnny Malcolm says he has never felt cause for alarm, while the enjoyment factor as she ramps up the speed is fantastic. But he did mention that he wasn't aboard when Roland Sharp and Black Bob Fannin were tearing past the North Foreland in wind over tide and carrying the spinnaker in rather more wind than they should, and they did have a megafright, but lived to tell the tale.

But following the capsize of a Dragonfly 28 in the Round the Island race, the boat's enthusiasts – and they are many – simply stated that it's a fact of life: if you drive any trimaran too hard, you're going to capsize. However, it's when multi-hulls are sitting becalmed and get hit by a sudden gust that their ultimately non-self-righting characteristics can become unexpectedly evident. In the more mountainous parts of Scotland's West Coast, where the hills are high but the waters narrow, multihulls have had their problems. One of the most squally places is Loch Scathvaig, which thrusts deep into the Cuilins of Skye. A Dragonfly 28 sitting totally becalmed here was reported pitch-poled by a katabatic blast, and the water being deep, went completely upside down.

You don't need to be right under the heights of the Cuilins in order to experience sudden gusts of real power. Just round the corner and up the southeast coast of Skye along the Sound of Sleat is Isle Ornsay, a lovely spot whose only disadvantage is that when the wind is from the east, it can come storming across the Sound big time out of the brooding mountains of Loch Hourn, and sudden easterly squalls seemingly out of nowhere are another Hourn treat.

Horrid end to a lovely day.....the new Pampero TS52 is flippd by a sudden squall in the Sound of Sleat, 1st August 2012

In 2012, a big new French cruising catamaran, a 52ft Pampero TS, was sitting flat becalmed off Isle Ornsay. The name of the marque proved an unfortunate choice. A Loch Hourn pampero squall arrived with a bang. Before she could get moving to improve sail carrying power, and before anyone could get to the mainsheet, she was upside down.

Everyone was taken off safely, and within days an ace Isle Ornsay team led by Pete Fowler had righted her and brought her into Mallaig. We happened to call by that fine port a few days later on our way back from the Outer Hebrides, and as our skipper Dickie Gomes used to be a multhull ace with the 40ft Northern Ireland-built Newick trimaran Downtown Flyer (we'll return to that story another day), we were interested to hear his views on the big salvaged boat in the quayside yard.

My word, she was big. Enormous. The mast alone was like a round tower or a minaret. And with everything on the boat and about her, there was a feeling of the suddenness of it all, the total upset to a pleasant day. We came upon two or three salt-stained playing cards scattered in the cockpit. The vision of a sophisticated French charter party leisurely playing cards with highly intellectual conversation and then – zap – came irresistibly to mind. The imagination was enough. Even our skipper, seldom at a loss for words, had little to say.

At first glance the salvaged catamaran in Mallaig seemed to show few signs of her capsize.......Photo: W M Nixon


...and gave all the impressions of being a powerful fast cruiser....Photo: W M Nixon

....but soon the evidence could be discerned....Photo: W M Nixon

...and then everywhere we found signs of sudden catastrophe. Photo: W M Nixon

It was clear how spacious and stylish the big saloon had been....Photo: W M Nixon

.....with its stylishly planned layout now damaged by oil and water Photo: W M Nixon

Our skipper, formerly a very determined offshore multihull racer, was for once lost for words. Photo: W M Nixon

It was easy to imagine how peaceful things had been before the squall struck. The charter party may even have been playing a game of cards in the cockpit......Photo: W M Nixon

A pity. It had the makings of a good hand. Photo: W M Nixon

So even the big expensive multihulls have this ultimate drawback. There's no way around it, offshore multihulls should carry a health warning. But the rewards of living with the risk are fantastic sailing, and an ability to eat up the miles on passage in a style which leaves much larger craft in the ha'penny place.

The fact that it's decidedly different from orthodox sailing is all part of the package in making the America's Cup excitingly exotic. It needs multi-hulls, and it needs a bit of size. They talk of making them more affordable in order to attract more teams o the next series. But "more affordable" suggests smaller. Surely they couldn't be think of going below 60ft? And no doubt when the bubbles have settled a bit, some bright spark will say that the only way to maintain the excitement is to make the next generation 90ft.

Whatever, it's a long way over 162 years from the Isle of Wight to Hamilton Island. And it's a long way from he robust ocean-crossing schooner America to the extraordinary machines that captured global imagination in September. What happens next?

Published in W M Nixon

#AmericasCup - Fresh off of helping comeback kids Oracle Team USA to the America's Cup in San Francisco last week, Britain's Olympic sailing superstar Sir Ben Ainslie gets the profile treatment in The Guardian this weekend.

Credited by many with the astonishing turnaround in Oracle's fortunes as they trailed Emirates Team NZ by one race win to eight in the first-to-nine contest, Ainslie is nonetheless discreet about the achievement, reminding interviewer Sam Wollaston: "There were 120 guys on the team and 11 of us on the water. It's certainly not about individuals. I'm not just trying to be modest."

'Sir Ben' feels he's matured over his long top-flight sailing career - dating back to his silver medal win in Atlanta in 1996 aged just 19 - and no longer turns "into a bit of a monster on the water".

And at least the Olympic gold medallist recognises what everybody else can see in him - that he's able to "produce the best performances under pressure, when things aren't going that well. I love the challenge, being on the back foot."

The Guardian has much more on the story HERE.

Published in America's Cup
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#americascupThe America's Cup is still sailing's sacred monster. More so than ever, in fact. And it is still something of which we can honestly say: "This is the peak of world sailing – alas". But after the fantastic 34th America's Cup series in San Francisco, there's no denying it has us hooked.

How can we be so sure? There's a simple test. Anyone who took the slightest interest in it now asks: "What happens next?" Once you're getting that response from people, whether they are sailors or sports fans or simply good old Joe Public who just happened to catch it on a news flash, then you've got them hooked, and you can build on that for the future of the event.

So from being something which was only the highly specialised interest of an elite minority, it has become a supercharged happening from which everyone can take something. My own conversion came not from contemplating the seemingly endless intrigues which surrounded the event, and not from its extraordinary history of larger-than-life characters and even more off-the-wall boats, but simply from watching the vids of the giant catamarans racing, just like anyone else in an increasingly rapt global audience.

It's amazing to think that in a couple of years time and probably much sooner, we will take it for granted that a machine like Oracle USA can be powered up to sail to windward at 32.5 knots. And that done in a true wind of 17 knots. It meant that those on board were experiencing an apparent wind of upwards of Force 10.

And as for the way these 72ft boats rose on their foils, we may have had glimpses of it in the preliminaries, but when it is happening as a regular occurrence you begin to feel you're not looking at a boat at all, but at an utterly sensational magic carpet. Sailing became three dimensional as they shook off the grip of the sea. One can only reflect that the great G L Watson, who was the first designer to become obsessed about the need to reduce wetted area, would have been ecstatic.

And all this technical stuff is over and above the basic human interest, and the allocating of credit where credit is due. For sure, the introduction of Ben Ainslie as tactician into Jimmy Spithill's Oracle USA team made a significant difference. But it's pitching it a bit high to say that Sir Ben saved the America's Cup for Larry Ellison. Rather, he was a major component in a complex process of continuous improvement in every area, in a campaign which cleverly utilised every opportunity for scrounging extra time in order to maximise the boat's performance and thereby upset Team New Zealand's seemingly unassailable points lead.

Thus any sailor with an under-performing boat can take encouragement from the fact that when the finals began, the Kiwi boat was simply out-performing Oracle. But in the nail-biting final race, after endless round-the-clock work on the American boat, the reverse was true. Tactically, it was the New Zealanders who were on top of the game to establish an early advantage in that final race. But once they were fully into the beat, Oracle simply sailed round them and on into a solid lead.

That it's suggested that this turnaround is something which can be an inspiration to any sailor may seem far-fetched when we consider just how remote the America's Cup catamarans are from the kinds of boats and the sort of sailing the rest of us enjoy. But that is the measure of this series – there was something in it for everyone.


Three America's Cup winners, all to the same scale. Reliance of 1903 was the largest boat which has ever raced for the cup. At 143ft LOA, she was just one foot short of being twice the length of the current class of catamarans.

Not least of the impressions it leaves is the completely supra-national nature of it all. This genuine globalisation of sport is surely for the ultimate good of mankind. Officially it was New Zealand challenging America for an international trophy which originated in Britain 162 years ago. But what we might call the America's Cup community is now a supra-national grouping of hyper-talent drawn from many corners of the globe. Just which ensign goes up the winner's flagpole at the conclusion of the event depends on the nationality of whoever is signing the cheques. But the sailors themselves are patriots for their sport rather than the representatives of some narrow jingoist concept of nationality.


The main man. Charlie Barr on the helm of the giant Reliance, which had double wheels for extra power when needed. Barr was a Scotsman who became American as his sailing career reached the heights.

This is something which has long been central to the America's Cup, and it's all the better for it. After all, one of the greatest skippers in the history of the trophy was Charlie Barr, a Scotsman who settled in America after he had delivered a Clyde-built yacht across the Atlantic, and reached his full potential sailing American defenders of the cup.

More recently the Swiss involvement in the series emphasised just how meaningless traditional concepts of nationality can be. That said, we still do need some notion of nationhood in order to give us a better understanding of the human condition. The America's Cup's ability to transcend national feeling, while at the same time feeding a sense of national pride, is a remarkable achievement. It may seem a crazy idea, but why not consider it for the Nobel Peace Prize?


Launching day for Reliance, which carried a racing crew of 60......


....and even with them all at work, hoisting Reliance's mainsail took quite some time. After defeating Thomas Lipton's Shamrock III by 3-0 in 1903, the Cornelius Vanderbilt-owned Reliance was dismantled, as her hull was built in so many different metals that it is said she hissed when put afloat.

As for its place in the global sailing community, it is currently very secure. We can't be certain that some future series will not draw the cup and our sport back into discredit, but for now we can be confident that the America' Cup has fulfilled all the hype, and then some. And by being something which is at a stratospheric height by comparison with almost all other forms of sailing, it now has the odd effect of making ordinary sailors feel more in community with the rest of the world. We reckon the America's Cup is just as crazy as everyone else does. But it certainly has got us hooked.

Published in W M Nixon

ORACLE TEAM USA won the 34th America's Cup in a winner-take-all 19th race, defeating challenger Emirates Team New Zealand by 44 seconds in today's clincher. Led by 35-year-old skipper Jimmy Spithill, ORACLE TEAM USA won by the score of 9-8.

This is the second America's Cup win for ORACLE TEAM USA and Spithill, which won the 162-year-old trophy in Valencia, Spain, in February 2010. Then 30 years of age, Spithill became the youngest to ever skipper a Cup winning team.

In the past week ORACLE TEAM USA has steadily improved its boatspeed to the point where it could hydrofoil upwind at 30-32 knots, incredible performance never seen before in the America's Cup.

ORACLE TEAM USA's victory marks one of the most improbable comebacks in the history of sport. The team won 11 races to score the 9 points required for victory due to a penalty imposed by the International Jury. Just last Wednesday, Sept. 18, ORACLE TEAM USA trailed the series 8-1. With the challenger on match point, the defender closed out the series with eight consecutive victories.

This was the third time in the history of the America's Cup with a winner-take-all final race. Previously, the defender won in 1920 and the challenger won in 1983. Both times the winner rallied from a multi-race deficit, but never anything amounting to eight straight wins.

Race 19 Performance Data

- Course: 5 Legs/10.07 nautical miles
- Elapsed Time: OTUSA - 23:24, ETNZ - 24:08
- Delta: OTUSA +:44
- Total distance sailed: OTUSA - 11.9 NM, ETNZ - 12.2 NM
- Average Speed: OTUSA - 30.55 knots (35 mph), ETNZ - 30.55 knots (35 mph)
- Top Speed: OTUSA - 44.33 knots (51 mph), ETNZ - 45.72 knots (53 mph)
- Windspeed: Average - 18.2 knots, Peak - 21.3 knots
- Number of Tacks/Jibes: OTUSA - 9/7, ETNZ - 9/7

Published in America's Cup
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#americascup – San Francisco is in the process of serving up the greatest sailing spectacle of all time writes Anthony Shanks.

Will it be Oracle Team USA (OTUSA) to continue their unbeaten run into eight races or can Emirates team New Zealand (ETNZ) break the hoodoo and take the cup down south.

After race 5 Ben Ainslie was drafted in to replace John Kosteki, OTUSA then went on to loose the next two races leaving them 6-0 down with only one win they looked down and out. Of the next 11 races oracle have won 9 and team New Zealand have won 2.

The question has to be asked; what changed? Ben Ainslie was definitely an improvement and his gelling with Tom Slingsby and Jimmy Spithill has provided an amazingly strong after guard. Under immense pressure they have quite simply learned to sail the boat better.

ETNZ had shown the way, to everybody, working out how to hydrofoil these 72 foot monsters and had taken such made such a leap forward that everybody in the know assumed that it was not how but when would they all be competing in Auckland. When the series started it was as if the Americans had not been sailing, after their crash they admittedly lost three months of training time.

Then again everybody needs a bit of luck and two races cancelled firstly because of too much wind and then not enough both with ETNZ leading mut have made the kiwis wonder what was happening.

Oracle Team USA have used every minute available to them to make improvements to both their technique and their boat. The most notable must be their technique, just watching their tacking is one of the most spectacular sights as they roll from hull to hull reducing their wetted surface area as fast as possible. Then we get to the most wonderful sight of foiling up wind at 25+knots, this has to be the holy grail of multihull racing.

Oracle Team USA's performance has to have improved by in excess of 25 percent which in itself is remarkable over such a short period of time. In comparison ETNZ give the impression of standing still, which whilst not true is rather foreboding for this evenings race.

Jimmy Spithill is giving huge credit to the shore team, we all wonder what the enhancement to the boat have been. Have they put a different set of foils in? My take is that they have done something to the foils to get up a little earlier and seem more stable now than the kiwis.

San Francisco for the cup is probably the most predictable race course in the world to race on for this type of sailing, especially when the racing is corralled into such a tight area. With the wind and time limit the improvement only have to be made within quite a tight wind envelope, this has definitely played into OTUSA's hands.

Three days ago Dean Barker looked shell shocked, whilst in the same position 10 days ago Jimmy laconically talked about nothing to lose and just going out and racing.

The 34th America's Cup has become a psychological battle. Based on the last few races can you see past Oracle Team USA winning? Who do you think is going to blink first?

Published in America's Cup
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#americascup – Oracle Team USA has forced a winner-take-all final race for the 34th America's Cup after posting a come-from-behind win in Race 18.

Kiwi skipper Dean Barker started the race to leeward of rival Jimmy Spithill and held the lead around the first turning mark. The Kiwis kept the lead by 7 seconds at the leeward gate but Oracle Team USA has speed to burn on the upwind legs and simply sailed past the Kiwis. Oracle Team USA led by 57 seconds at the windward gate beginning the penultimate leg and finished with a 54-second advantage.

"It's not over. We've got to finish it off," said skipper Jimmy Spithill. "We've worked very, very hard to come back from where we were. And, the guys want it. You can sense it onboard and you can sense it around the base - the whole team just wants it. There's this huge wave of momentum we've been riding for the past few days and it just build and builds and builds, and we're going to carry that in to tomorrow."

Race 17 began with a double penalty off the line for Emirates Team New Zealand for not keeping clear as the windward boat. ORACLE TEAM USA was able to pull ahead and round the first mark 17 seconds in front. The team defended their position and held on to cross the line 27 seconds ahead of Team New Zealand.

Tomorrow's Race 19 is scheduled to start at 1:15 p.m. PT and the winner will win the 34th America's Cup.

Race 17 Performance Data
- Course: 5 Legs/10.11 nautical miles
- Elapsed Time: OTUSA - 24:04, ETNZ - 24:31
- Delta: OTUSA +:27
- Total distance sailed: OTUSA - 11.8 NM, ETNZ - 11.6 NM
- Average Speed: OTUSA - 29.62 knots (34 mph), ETNZ - 28.63 knots (33 mph)
- Top Speed: OTUSA - 44.02 knots (51 mph), ETNZ - 46.33 knots (53 mph)
- Windspeed: Average - 16.8 knots, Peak - 20.0 knots
- Number of Tacks/Jibes: OTUSA - 8/6, ETNZ - 7/5

Race 18 Performance Data

- Course: 5 Legs/10.11 nautical miles
- Elapsed Time: OTUSA - 22:01, ETNZ - 22:55
- Delta: OTUSA +:54
- Total distance sailed: OTUSA - 11.7 NM, ETNZ - 11.9 NM
- Average Speed: OTUSA - 31.92 knots (37 mph), ETNZ - 31.23 knots (36 mph)
- Top Speed: OTUSA - 45.79 knots (53 mph), ETNZ - 47.57 knots (55 mph)
- Windspeed: Average - 19.3 knots, Peak - 21.8 knots
- Number of Tacks/Jibes: OTUSA - 7/7, ETNZ - 10/6

Published in America's Cup
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#americascup – Oracle Team USA won Race 15 by 37seconds over Emirates Team New Zealand to sweep the day after winning Race 14 by 23 seconds.

Oracle Team USA has clawed its way to 8-5 on the scoreline, after trailing by 8-1 on Wednesday. Emirates Team New Zealand needs one more win to win the America's Cup while Oracle Team USA has to win out, four more victories.

In a near carbon copy of Race 14, Oracle Team USA started Race 15 to leeward of Emirates Team New Zealand to lead by 3 seconds at the first turning mark. The defender stretched its lead to one minute at the second turning mark, before the Kiwis made inroads on the upwind leg. The Kiwis made another charge on the second downwind leg, but Oracle Team USA was too far ahead to overcome.

The deltas were 23s in race 14, 37s in race 15.

Barker said it was always going to be a difficult day with big variations in wind at the top and bottom of the course. It was patchy and there were a lot of shifts. Two starboard start-box entries didn't help."

Barker said Oracle sailed really well, managing the first downwind legs well, establishing good leads. "We gave them opportunities we should not have done. We fought back, got close at times, but it was Oracle's day."

Races 16 and 17 (if necessary) are scheduled for tomorrow at 1:15 and 2:15 pm PT.

34th America's Cup Standings (first to 9 points wins)

- Emirates Team New Zealand - 8 - Oracle Team USA - 5

Published in America's Cup
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#americascup – Another one-race day at San Francisco as wind and tide conspired against the race committee's best endeavours to get the second race away.

They came close to succeeding. The boats were well into the two-minute start sequence when the plug was pulled for the third day in succession.

Emirates Team New Zealand started today one point away from taking the America's Cup to New Zealand.

The team ended the day in exactly the same position as it started it, but with a win in the one race sailed, Oracle put another point on the board.

The team lost race 12, the only race to be held today. Oracle gained another point and now trails New Zealand eight points to two. The first team to nine wins the America's Cup. Oracle won the start and led to the finish. The delta was 31s.

Standings (first to 9 points wins)
Emirates Team New Zealand - 8
Oracle Team USA - 2

Published in America's Cup

#americascup – The wind won the day at San Francisco when Day 7 racing of 34th America's Cup was postponed until this morning. With an ebb tide of a strong 2.7 knots the wind limit at the start time was 20.3 knots.

The ebb tide flows against the wind direction and creates a challenging sea state for the AC72s.

The wind continued to build as it does at this time of the year in San Francisco and the race committee pulled the plug at 1.31pm when the wind strength was a consistent 25 knots.As the AC72 returned to base gusts of 32 knots were experienced.

On Wednesday wind conditions will start to moderate and so will the strangth of the tide.

Races 11 and 12 are rescheduled tfor today, at 1:15 pm and 2:15 pm San Francisco time.

Emirates Team New Zealand leads Oracle 7-1. The winner of the 34th America's Cup will be the first team to score nine points.

Published in America's Cup
Page 15 of 17

William M Nixon has been writing about sailing in Ireland and internationally for many years, with his work appearing in leading sailing publications on both sides of the Atlantic. He has been a regular sailing columnist for four decades with national newspapers in Dublin, and has had several sailing books published in Ireland, the UK, and the US. An active sailor, he has owned a number of boats ranging from a Mirror dinghy to a Contessa 35 cruiser-racer, and has been directly involved in building and campaigning two offshore racers. His cruising experience ranges from Iceland to Spain as well as the Caribbean and the Mediterranean, and he has raced three times in both the Fastnet and Round Ireland Races, in addition to sailing on two round Ireland records. A member for ten years of the Council of the Irish Yachting Association (now the Irish Sailing Association), he has been writing for, and at times editing, Ireland's national sailing magazine since its earliest version more than forty years ago