Can Team New Zealand halt the Oracle momentum and win the
America's Cup? Photo Reuters
Team New Zealand has let seven opportunities to clinch
the America's Cup slip by.
Today is its last roll of the dice, unless the weather
conspires against racing (skipper Dean Barker could play his
postponement card, too).
At this point, it will take some serious luck for the Kiwi
boat to triumph over Oracle Team USA, which has engineered
one of the great sporting turnarounds.
After 18 fascinating, thrilling and intense races, the 34th
cup match all boils down to today's winner-takes-all showdown
in San Francisco.
Whatever happens today, the regatta will be remembered as one
of the greatest cup contests.
''I don't know what you guys have been doing for the last two
weeks, but we've just been training. The regatta actually
starts [today],'' Team New Zealand wing trimmer Glenn Ashby
joked of today's monumental showdown.
Few outside Oracle skipper Jimmy Spithill's household would
have picked it would reach this point.
Trailing 1-8 only a week ago, the Oracle team looked
But, with a series of subtle enhancements to their boat and
the rapid improvement in their boat-handling and crew-work,
Oracle came back from the brink. Yesterday, Oracle pulled off
its sixth and seventh straight wins to tie the series 8-all,
dealing Team NZ a major psychological blow in the upwind leg
of the second race when it showed blistering speed to sail
Barker will almost certainly cop it if his side cannot
collect that elusive victory today. But to brand Team New
Zealand as chokers would be dismissive of the job Oracle has
The Team New Zealand skipper said his crew was doing
everything it could to win, but it was clear yesterday Oracle
had an edge in speed.
''You've got to give credit where it's due. [Oracle] have
sailed incredibly well to get themselves back in the event.
Today, in that second race, it was phenomenal; they showed
something that was nothing shy of impressive.''
Barker maintains his crew has not given up hope.
''We're certainly very upbeat and we know we can win. I know
we've been saying that for a few days now, but there's an
absolute belief in this team that we can win.''