America’s Cup 2017: Finals- Day One

Well the Battle Off Bermuda has come to this- Oracle USA v. Emirates/New Zealand.

Please don’t tell me you’re surprised, this was completely predictable about 10 seconds after the close of the last series.

As we proceed it will be first to 7 victories, Emirates/New Zealand will start at -1 (that’s right, negative numbers) because of Oracle USA’s unexpected victory in the Round Robin portion of the Louis Vuitton (Challenger’s) Cup. Effectively this means there theoretically could be 14 races instead of 13 if we end up tied at 6 after regulation, call it Overage Time if you like.

Who said we didn’t have surprises? I only said that the match up was practically inevitable.

Yeah, Oracle is rocket fast. In the preliminary World Cup series they finished 2nd to Land Rover England and frankly didn’t look nearly as good as the finish would indicate. Land Rover disappointed in the Round Robin however, finishing with a mere 6 points (which represented only 4 race wins, 2 of them being carryovers from the World Cup) in 3rd position. Oracle USA and Emirates/New Zealand finished with an equal number of wins (8) and losses (2). Oracle gained overall victory by virtue of the bonus point it picked up by finishing 2nd in the World Cup and thus advantage now in the Finals.

Oracle lost to Artemis, twice. They also beat Emirates/New Zealand, twice.

The Also Rans

Groupama France never looked strong and was only able to eek out 2 wins, one against Artemis and another against Land Rover. They did not advance to the Semifinal Match Racing.

Softbank Japan was the lowest ranked team to emerge from the Round Robin. They had only 3 victories despite being the Torro Rosso to Oracle’s Red Bull, one aganst Land Rover (sure, why not?), and 2 against Groupama. In the Semifinals matched against Artemis they roared out to a 3 – 1 advantage (including 1 retirement by Artemis) and then…

They didn’t win another race.

In the other bracket, Emirates/New Zealand v. Land Rover England, it was a Turn Left Bumpercar Flaming Hunks of Twisted Metal Crashfest.

The first day of racing Land Rover broke a camber arm (I’m not quite sure what one of those is either) and went 2 down. On the second day Emirates/New Zealand won the first race in high winds (first complete race) and then fell off its hydrofoils, took a nose dive, and capsized at the start of the 2nd. So now it’s New Zealand 3 – 1.

Racing was cancelled due to high winds the next day but finished the day after. Land Rover put up a fight evading the first Match Point but succumbed in the second, New Zealand 5 – 2.

The Louis Vuitton Cup

Also known as the Good Sportsman/Participation Trophy. I would honestly have given Artemis at least even money in this one, they beat Oracle twice and New Zealand struggled against Land Rover which broke constantly and sailed like a dog.

It was not close.

New Zealand looked sharp and was constantly on foil, even in light winds. Artemis did win 2 but they also broke down twice. In the end it was 5 – 2 New Zealand.

The America’s Cup

It could be close. Or not. These things generally are.

Oracle is rip quick and very reliable so far. They also have an undefeated record against New Zealand (Artemis might have been a more interesting match up). New Zealand is…

Well, it’s New Zealand mate.

Also, because they are the team of technical innovation, they have a brilliant idea. These modern boats don’t run off ropes and pulleys, they use hydraulics to move all the control surfaces, so instead of Grinders powering winches they’re powering pumps to keep the pressure up pretty much constantly. Now every other team is still using upper body based traditional Grinders, New Zealand has replaced them with stationary bikes. In addition to being somewhat superior aerodynamically (and while you wouldn’t want to be racing a brick, Formula One shows you can go quite fast indeed without a lot of fiddly and very expensive aero kit provided you’re not dragging it like an anchor or flattening your tires- sometimes I think it’s just to give the engineers something to do and justify the cost of their computers) it’s just a known fact of biomechanics that your legs are stronger than your arms will ever be, even if you’re benching hunnas.

So they could win.

Two races scheduled. Coverage at 1 pm ET on the flagship NBC.


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