At first it looked like the 34th America’s Cup races would be a route. Emirates Team New Zealand was simply out-sailing the defender, Oracle Team USA. Not only was the crew making fewer mistakes but the Kiwi’s boat seemed noticeably faster to windward. In the first five races, the Kiwis won four, compelling Oracle to call a time-out before race six, using its one race postponement card to give the team time to reassess. Races 6 & 7 were also Kiwi wins but things changed dramatically in Race 8. The Kiwis almost capsized, losing the race and coming perilously close to ending their hope of winning the Cup. The Oracle boat also seemed much quicker to windward. Races 9 & 10 confirmed the transformation. Once the laggard, Oracle now appears to have a windward speed advantage, either due to changes in the boat, new crew tactics or both. They won Race 9 and only lost 10 in an exciting squeaker, falling 47 seconds behind the Kiwis.
Is this Oracle resurgence too late? The Kiwis only have to win two more races to claim the Cup while Oracle has to win another seven to hold it. If the last two races are any indication, the final races in 34th America’s Cup will be extremely exciting. If Oracle manages to dominate the last races and win, it will be a comeback tale for the ages.