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2013 America's Cup

2013 America's Cup

The 34th America's Cup was a series of yacht races held on San Francisco Bay, in September 2013. The series was contested between the defender Oracle Team USA representing the Golden Gate Yacht Club, and the challenger Emirates Team New Zealand representing the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron. Oracle Team USA defended the America's Cup by a score of 9 to 8, after winning eight consecutive races from Race 11 onwards.[1] Team New Zealand won the right to challenge for the cup by winning the 2013 Louis Vuitton Cup. The 34th America's Cup's race sequence was the longest ever, by both number of days and races, and the first since the 25th America's Cup to feature both teams in a match point situation.

34th America's Cup
Color photograph of a racing catamaran underway with the starboard hull out of the water
Team New Zealand leading Oracle Racing in the first race
DefenderUnited States
Defender club:Golden Gate Yacht Club
Yacht:Oracle Team USA 17
ChallengerNew Zealand
Challenger club:Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron
Location:San Francisco, California
Dates:September 2013
Winner:Golden Gate Yacht Club
Score:United States9New Zealand8


The Golden Gate Yacht Club defeated Société Nautique de Genève in the 2010 America's Cup to become the Defenders of the America's Cup. The first Challenger of Record for the 34th Cup was Club Nautico di Roma, and a joint press conference was held on May 6, 2010 to plan for the event.[2] The planning process was to include definition of new rules, an independent management team, definition of a new class of boats created in conjunction with all teams, regular racing in multiple venues and provision for increased television and online coverage.


The Protocol for the 34th America's Cup was published on September 13, 2010.[3][4]


Two new classes of boat were announced. AC72 wing-sail catamarans are being used for the America's Cup races and the AC45 class, a scaled-down one-design version of the AC72, was used for the preliminary training and racing until boats built to the AC72 rules became available. The amended AC72 Class Rule version 1.1 was published on February 22, 2011.[5]

The AC72 can reach speeds averaging about 30 knots (56 km/h; 35 mph) with peaks over 40 knots (74 km/h; 46 mph); that speed can be as much as 1.8 to slightly over twice the actual wind speed.[6] This is significantly faster than the previous ACC boats that reached speeds of 11 to 13 knots (20 to 24 km/h; 13 to 15 mph).[7]

America's Cup World Series

In order to increase global awareness, and hence attract sponsors for the teams, an America's Cup World Series was held over the 2011–12 and 2012–13 seasons. The winner of each annual series was declared the America's Cup World Series Champion for that season. There were three regattas in 2011, five in 2012, and two in 2013. Each regatta lasted for one week and had approximately 6 days of racing, including official practice. Each AC World Series regatta was a combination of match and fleet racing. AC45 one-design catamarans were used for each World Series regatta.

Cost reduction

Officials adopted rules for the 2013 America's Cup to reduce costs and thereby attract more challengers:[8]

  • No-sail periods limit the time for on-the-water boat tuning and crew training.

  • Rules limit the number of boats, sails, equipment, and support boats that each team may use to two AC72 boats. Competitors shall not launch the first boat before July 1, 2012, and from July 1, 2012 through January 31, 2013, may sail their AC72 boat for a maximum of 30 days. The competitor's second AC72 boat may not be launched before February 1, 2013. From February 1, 2013 through May 1, 2013, the competitors may sail their AC72 boats for a maximum of 45 days per AC72 boat. There are no sailing-days restrictions from May 1, 2013 onward.[9][10]

  • Rules limit crew size to 11 sailors.

Despite these measures, the cost of mounting a competitive challenge likely exceeds US$100 million.[11]

Youth America's Cup

In addition to using the AC45 catamarans for the initial world series races, they are used in the nationality-based 'Youth America's Cup' (YAC). The smaller scaled down AC45 version of the AC72 with similar characteristics to the AC72 enables younger competition sailors to master the techniques used to sail this style of catamaran before they progress to the AC72 boats. The YAC began in 2013, when both first and second places were taken by New Zealand entries.[12]

The winning team included Peter Burling, Blair Tuke, Jono Spurdle, Sam Meech, Andy Maloney, Jason Saunders and Guy Endean.[13][14][15]


On July 8, 2010, Oracle Team USA announced that San Francisco was "the only city in the USA under consideration to host the 34th America's Cup” match.[16] At the time, KGO-TV and Gazzetta dello Sport, an Italian sports newspaper, reported that Rome-Fiumicino, Italy was challenging San Francisco to host the event.[17] Oracle Team USA confirmed that San Diego, Newport[18] and Long Beach were considered earlier as possible venues for this event.

A key parameter in deciding the venue was reliability of the wind and weather patterns so that pre-published television schedules would be virtually guaranteed to show racing rather than suffering endless postponements which was a significant problem for TV audiences watching the 2010 America's Cup.[2] In early December 2010, BMW Oracle Racing became concerned that a full and final agreement with San Francisco would not be completed in time to comply with the requirement to announce the location of the cup venue on December 31, 2010. As a result, negotiations were activated with Newport, Rhode Island, as a potential venue for the cup.[19] However, on December 31 San Francisco was officially awarded the right to host the 2013 America's Cup.[20]


Initially, fourteen yacht clubs submitted notices of entry within the deadline, but two were declined and ten withdrew. Club Nautico di Roma was originally named as the Challenger of Record, but after their team Mascalzone Latino withdrew,[21][22] the Challenger of Record became the Royal Swedish Yacht Club, sponsoring Artemis Racing.[23] Other notable teams that withdrew included former Cup holder Alinghi[24] and the Energy Team from Yacht Club de France.

On August 2, 2012, the America's Cup Event Authority announced that four challenging teams would compete for the right to challenge Oracle Team USA, the only team that represented the defending Golden Gate Yacht Club.[25][26] These teams were Artemis Racing (the Challenger of Record) representing Kungliga Svenska Segelsällskapet, Emirates Team New Zealand representing the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron, Luna Rossa Challenge representing Circolo della Vela Sicilia and the White Tiger Challenge representing Sail Korea Yacht Club.[27] Luna Rossa, a late entry, formed a partnership with Team New Zealand where they would share design and testing information.[28] Following Sail Korea's withdrawal in March 2013, the number of challengers dropped to three.[27]

Defending club
United StatesGolden Gate Yacht ClubOracle Team USA
Challenging clubs
SwedenKungliga Svenska SegelsällskapetArtemis Racing[29]
New ZealandRoyal New Zealand Yacht SquadronEmirates Team New Zealand
ItalyCircolo della Vela SiciliaLuna Rossa Challenge[30]


The course for the 34th America's Cup was specially designed to take advantage of the San Francisco Bay, to bring the racing within easy viewing of the shore for the first time.[31][32][33] The starting area was furthest away from the shore, close to the Golden Gate Bridge. The boats were only allowed to enter the starting box two minutes before the usage of the starting gun. The boat entering on port tack was allowed to enter ten seconds before the starboard tack boat.[34] This is to reduce the danger of having two boats travelling at up to 40 knots (74 km/h; 46 mph) heading towards each other into the starting area.

  • After the starting gun signals the start, the first leg is a short reach of around 0.5 nautical miles (0.93 km; 0.58 mi) towards the shore.

  • After rounding the reach mark, the boats travel downwind to the leeward gate. This second leg is around 2.5 nautical miles (4.6 km; 2.9 mi) in length. At the bottom of the course, the leeward gate has two different marks. Rounding either mark completes the leg.

  • The third leg stretches around 3 nautical miles (5.6 km; 3.5 mi) from the leeward gate to the windward gate. This upwind leg is the longest leg timewise, even though the AC72s are able to sail upwind close to twice the speed of the wind against them. The windward gate also has two separate marks, with the skippers able to choose either to complete the leg.

  • On the fourth and final downwind leg, the boats will be aiming for the leeward mark that is closer to the shore.

  • Rounding this mark puts them on a reach sprint to the finish. The fifth leg is around 1 nautical mile (1.9 km; 1.2 mi) in length. The finish line is right in front of America's Cup Park, at Piers 27/29.

The length of the course varies, but is around 10 nautical miles (19 km; 12 mi) and generally takes about 25 minutes to complete. During the 2013 Louis Vuitton Cup on the same course, some races were raced with an extra lap around the leeward and windward gates. This seven leg course is around 16 nautical miles (30 km; 18 mi), taking approximately 45 minutes to sail.[35]

The racecourse is delinated by a boundary. Going outside of the boundary draws a penalty which is indicated by blue lights on board the boats.[36] The green lights on board the boats will flash whenever the boat is within three boatlengths of the boundary, or a mark. Whichever boat enters the three boatlength circle around a mark, they will generally have mark rights and be allowed to round without worrying about the other boat. The exception is when there is an overlap between the two boats. If an overlap exists, room must be made to ensure both boats round the mark safely. The maximum time for a race is 40 minutes after which the race is stopped.[37]

If a penalty is awarded against a boat, a moving penalty line is calculated and placed two boat lengths behind them, advancing on a direct heading to the mark or the wind (depending which leg). The penalised boat must slow their Velocity Made Good such that their boat falls behind the penalty line. This is calculated in real time by computers, and indicated to the teams on the water via the lights and direct radio communication.[38]

Alcatraz Island is a unique part of the racecourse for this event. For the first week of the event, San Francisco Bay experienced flood tides during the America's Cup races. As water flowed into the bay, there was a cone close to the Island where the incoming tide was noticeably less than the rest of the racecourse. On the upwind leg, when boats have to sail against the flood tide, tactical use of this cone was crucial.[39]


Challenger determination

The challenger was determined in the 2013 Louis Vuitton Cup challenger selection series. Emirates Team New Zealand won the Louis Vuitton Cup and therefore the right to challenge Oracle Team USA in the America's Cup.

Cheating penalty

An international jury found Oracle Team USA guilty of cheating during the America's Cup World Series warmup event in 2012 when they placed bags of lead pellets in their 45-foot catamarans to add additional weight outside of allowed areas.[40][41][42] Penalties imposed included expelling three team members,[43] a $250,000 fine, and a one-point penalty for each of the first two races of the Match in which they would otherwise score a point.[44] This last penalty meant that Oracle had to win 11 races to retain the trophy, while New Zealand only needed to win 9 races to lift the cup.

Cup matches

The 34th America's Cup was held between challenger Team New Zealand and defender Oracle Team USA on a five-leg course on San Francisco Bay. One point was awarded for winning a race, and a total of nine points were needed to win the cup. Due to the two race penalty assessed on Oracle Team USA, they needed 11 wins to defend the cup.

Wins marked in green
Postponed or Abandoned races marked in red
RaceDatePDTUnited StatesOracle Team USANew ZealandTeam New ZealandDeltaScore
United StatesNew Zealand
1September 7, 20131:15pm24:0623:3000:3601
2September 7, 20132:15pm23:3822:4600:5202
3September 8, 20131:15pm25:2825:0000:2803
4September 8, 20132:15pm22:4222:5000:08013
5September 10, 20131:15pm23:5022:4501:0504
P2September 10, 20132:15pmPostponed04
6September 12, 20131:15pm32:2631:3900:4705
7September 12, 20132:15pm25:5424:4801:0606
8September 14, 20131:15pm23:0924:0100:52016
A3September 14, 20132:15pm06
9September 15, 20131:15pm21:5322:4000:4716
10September 15, 20132:15pm22:1722:0000:1717
P4September 17, 20131:15pm17
P4September 17, 20132:15pm17
11September 18, 20131:15pm23:5623:4100:1518
P4September 18, 20132:15pm18
12September 19, 20131:15pm23:4924:2000:3128
P4September 19, 20132:15pm28
A5September 20, 20131:20pm28
13September 20, 20132:33pm27:2028:4401:2438
P6September 21, 20131:15pm38
P6September 21, 20132:15pm38
14September 22, 20131:15pm33:4734:1000:2348
15September 22, 20132:22pm27:3428:1100:3758
16September 23, 20131:45pm30:4331:1600:3368
P7September 23, 20132:15pm68
17September 24, 20131:15pm24:0424:3100:2778
18September 24, 20132:15pm22:0122:5500:5488
19September 25, 20131:15pm23:2424:0800:4498

1 Oracle's victories in races 4 and 8 did not award points, due to the penalty imposed by the jury. 2 Oracle used their postponement card after race 5, canceling the second race scheduled for September 10. 3 With Team New Zealand leading during the third leg, the second race on September 14 was abandoned by the race committee due to the wind exceeding the allowed maximum. 4 Both races on September 17, and the second races on both September 18 and September 19, were postponed due to the wind exceeding the allowed maximum beyond a reasonable start time. 5 With Team New Zealand well ahead in light winds near the end of the fourth leg, the first race on September 20 was abandoned by the race committee due to the race exceeding the 40-minute time limit. 6 Both races on September 21 were postponed by the race committee due to the wind direction not permitting a fair laying of the race course. 7 Due to the late start of race 16, a second race was not sailed on September 23 due to the 2:40pm cutoff time for racing.

Defender and challenger personnel

Oracle Team USA[45]

Principal BackerUnited StatesLarry Ellison
CEONew ZealandRussell Coutts
SkipperAustraliaJimmy Spithill
TacticianUnited StatesJohn Kostecki1-5
United KingdomBen Ainslie6-19
StrategistAustraliaTom Slingsby
Wing TrimmerAustraliaKyle Langford
Jib TrimmerAustraliaJoe Newton
Off-side trimmerUnited StatesRome Kirby
GrindersAntigua and BarbudaShannon Falcone,New ZealandJoe Spooner,
New ZealandJono MacBeth,ItalyGillo Nobili,NetherlandsSimeon Tienpont

Emirates Team New Zealand[46]

Managing DirectorNew ZealandGrant Dalton
SkipperNew ZealandDean Barker
TacticianNew ZealandRay Davies
Wing TrimmerAustraliaGlenn Ashby
TrimmerNew ZealandJames Dagg
BowAustraliaNew ZealandAdam Beashel
PitNew ZealandJeremy Lomas
Pedestal 1New ZealandChris Ward
Pedestal 2New ZealandRob Waddell
Pedestal 3New ZealandGrant Dalton1-3, 5-7, 9-12, 17, 19
New ZealandWinston MacFarlane4, 8, 13-16, 18
Pedestal 4New ZealandChris McAsey
Float / GrinderNew ZealandDerek Saward

Progress of the regatta

Day 1: September 7

The 34th America's Cup began in stark contrast to the one-sided races that dominated the 2013 Louis Vuitton Cup. Team New Zealand, skippered by Dean Barker, led at the first mark, and held the lead for the second leg, which was the first leg to be facing downwind. Oracle Team USA was 4 seconds behind Team New Zealand at the bottom mark, and during the upwind third leg the lead changed several times. Team New Zealand led at the top mark by 25 seconds, and kept the lead until the finish line, winning by 36 seconds.[47]

Race two began as the previous one ended, with Team New Zealand in front, despite the aggressive prestart by Oracle's skipper Jimmy Spithill. Team New Zealand led the whole race, and completed the victory by 52 seconds to lead 0–2 in the overall scoreline.[48]

Day 2: September 8

Oracle Team USA had better luck in the initial stages of Race three, as Spithill luffed Team New Zealand at the reach mark to successfully draw a penalty. Oracle held the lead for the first downwind leg, and were 18 seconds to the good heading into the upwind third leg. The pivotal moment of the race occurred when Barker brought the New Zealand boat back on port tack within three boat lengths of the boundary. Oracle was forced to tack away due to the boundary rights, even though they were on starboard, which would have otherwise have had right of way. The 29 second lead at the top mark was held by Team New Zealand all the way to the finish. They ultimately crossed the finish line 28 seconds ahead of Oracle, making the scoreline 0–3 to Team New Zealand.[49]

Race four again started well for Oracle, leading around the reach mark by 6 seconds. Although Barker pushed hard for the whole race, Spithill was able to hold off Team New Zealand, resulting in a finish 8 seconds ahead of Barker. Due to the penalty imposed by the International Jury, Oracle did not score a point, leaving the New Zealand remaining 3 points ahead.[50]

Day 3: September 10

Oracle's defeat in race five by one minute and five seconds was so emphatic that the Americans played their one and only Postponement Card to call off the scheduled second race.[51] Team New Zealand had once again been behind from the start all the way to the bottom of the race course. Once heading back upwind however, the New Zealand boat was noticeably faster and gained the lead with ease. A top mark delta of 1:17 effectively ended the race, and gave Spithill plenty of time to consider his options.[52] The score at the end of the day was 0–4, to Team New Zealand.

Day 4: September 12

Day four opened with the news that Oracle had changed their tactician. John Kostecki, who had raced on San Francisco Bay for decades, was dropped, and Sir Ben Ainslie, the skipper of Oracle's backup boat was brought on in his place. Another change was the noticeably lighter winds compared to the earlier days of racing.[53]

Race six followed a familiar refrain, with Oracle ahead at the start and holding that lead to the bottom of the downwind leg. After rounding the mark 12 seconds behind, Team New Zealand once again took over sailing into the wind. The highest number of tacks seen thus far was unable to prevent Team New Zealand from gaining 55 seconds during the third leg, and the 44 second lead at the top mark was extended to 47 seconds at the finish.[54]

Team New Zealand led from start to finish in Race 7. After a run of being behind at the start, Barker was strong in the windward position off the line and was able to beat Oracle Team USA by a substantial amount at the reach mark. Along with another substantial gain during the third leg, Oracle Team USA could not counter Team New Zealand's progress and finished a 1:06 behind. Team New Zealand closed the day in a dominant position of 0–6.[55]

Day 5: September 14

Race eight brought Team New Zealand to the brink of disaster. Leading from the start to midway up the third leg, Team New Zealand was tacking back to starboard to once again cover Oracle. However, a lack of hydraulic power at a crucial moment during the turn meant that the large wingsail did not move in time. The boat's starboard hull rose out of the water and Aotearoa, Team New Zealand's boat, came within a degree of capsizing.[56][57] To add insult to injury, Barker was penalised for failing to give way to Oracle, who was on starboard tack at the time. The New Zealand boat followed Spithill to finish 52 seconds behind.

Oracle's victory completed the penalty imposed by the International Jury, allowing them to accrue points for any subsequent victories.[58]

Team New Zealand were ahead during the third leg of the day's second race, but it was abandoned by the Race Committee due to the wind exceeding the 22.6-knot (41.9 km/h; 26.0 mph) allowable maximum (23 knots (43 km/h; 26 mph) minus the 0.4 knots (0.74 km/h; 0.46 mph) tide).[59]

Day 6: September 15

Race nine showed Oracle Team USA at their best. Spithill again won the start, and extended the lead at every mark including for the first time, a notable gain against the Kiwi boat on the upwind leg. Recording consecutive victories for the first time allowed Oracle to obtain a point, with the score at 1–6.[60]

Team New Zealand won race ten by 16 seconds, in what was widely reported as one of the most exciting America's Cup races of all time.[61][62] Barker looked to have been left behind by Spithill at the startline, but just managed to hold an overlap as the AC72s entered the three boat length circle at the reach mark. Team New Zealand took the 3 second lead, and increased it to 11 seconds at the second mark. Oracle again showed their new competitiveness during the upwind beat, and the lead changed three times. As the boats approached the top mark on split tacks, Barker slowed the boat, and then aimed down to pass under Oracle at speed. The top mark split was only 1 second as Oracle rounded in front of the shore, and Aotearoa rounded the other mark. With the race still too close to call during the downwind leg, Spithill made the call to dip behind Team New Zealand rather than jibe. The gap almost instantly became 100 metres. Barker was able to hold this lead to the finish to take the series to 1–7.[63][64][65]

In the post race press conference Barker said “If you didn’t enjoy today’s racing you should probably watch another sport.”

Day 7: September 17

High winds postponed racing on day seven. Both teams were keen to race, and headed out to the starting area. However the start time for the first race was pushed back several times due to the 20.1-knot (37.2 km/h; 23.1 mph) wind limit, and with the wind continuing to increase, at 1:31 pm the Race Committee made the postponement official.[66]

Day 8: September 18

Team New Zealand led all the way to win race eleven by 15 seconds, to move to match point in the race for the Cup. During the pre-start, Barker maneuvered in front of Spithill and then delayed both boats from crossing the start line until well after the gun had gone. Oracle performed well on the upwind beat, but Team New Zealand covered well, and the boats rounded opposite marks 17 seconds apart. At the final mark, Barker kept Aotearoa between Oracle and the mark, and the rounding was well below the usual speed. Team New Zealand were able to accelerate away leaving Oracle almost stationary in the water on the sprint to the finish line, taking the score to 1–8.[67][68]

The second race of the day suffered a 15-minute wind delay postponement. The postponement came at the same as the boats hit the start line. Barker had perfected a time on distance sprint to the line, to obtain a lead on the way to the reach mark. The boats made their way back to the starting area, but the wind and the strong outgoing tide combined to confirm the postponement of racing for the day.[69][70]

Day 9: September 19

Barker was aggressive in the pre-start phase of the first race of Day 9. It did not pay off, and Spithill was able to get into a position where Team New Zealand was forced to keep clear. From that lead off the start line, Oracle led the whole race to win race twelve by 31 seconds. During the upwind leg, Oracle's performance was excellent. They were able to sail on their foils at speeds approaching 32 knots (59 km/h). Oracle gained their second point to take the score to 2–8.[71][72]

The start time for the second race of the day was pushed back several times due to the wind exceeding the allowed limit. At one point the teams were able to enter the starting box, but the wind then exceeded the limit again. Racing was then postponed for the day, allowing Oracle to keep alert for another day.[73]

Day 10: September 20

Day ten brought the lightest winds seen in the 34th America's Cup. The start of the first race was pushed back by five minutes, due to the need to shift one of the marks on the start line. Oracle had the better start in the 8-knot (15 km/h; 9.2 mph) winds, and luffed Team New Zealand at the reach mark. The first downward leg was very different from the rest of the racing, as neither boat was able to sail on its foils. Aotearoa appeared to be the stronger boat in the light breeze, and rounded the leeward gate 1:42 ahead of the Americans. The New Zealand boat continued to extend their lead during the third leg and the main concern turned to whether they would be able to cross the finish line within the 40 minute race limit. Unfortunately for them, despite being ahead by more than 1,000 metres in winds of between 7 and 11 knots (13 and 20 km/h; 8.1 and 12.7 mph) near the end of the fourth leg, with 90% of the race complete, the time expired forcing the abandonment of the race.[74][75]

The resail of race thirteen began at 2:33pm in 12 knots (22 km/h; 14 mph) of wind. Spithill attempted to hook Barker during the pre start to gain advantage, but Barker managed to prevent Oracle from gaining the overlap. Team New Zealand led over the line, and took a 3-second lead around the reach mark. The pivotal moment of the race came towards the end of the second leg. Team New Zealand were slightly ahead and tried to cross in front of Oracle who had the starboard tack advantage. Spithill had to evade the Kiwi boat, and gained a penalty for the infraction. With the boats still close heading into the leeward gate, Barker fluffed his lines, and Aotearoa ended up being forced to jibe twice in quick succession. Oracle sped away to begin the third leg leaving the Kiwis almost non-moving. That effectively caused the result the race, and Oracle confirmed their third point by 1:24 at the finish. The New Zealanders' largest defeat of the Cup to date brought the score to 3–8.[76][77]

Day 11: September 21

It had rained earlier in the day, with wind from the south, about 90 degrees from the desirable direction, at the time day eleven racing was scheduled to be undertaken. The race committee pushed the start back several times, hoping that the wind would turn enough to allow racing. This did not happen by the start cut off time, and weather again forced postponement of the day's racing.[78][79]

Day 12: September 22

Racing on the 22nd of September brought the America's Cup into its third week, equalling the previous longest regatta in Cup history, the 31st America's Cup. A whale was also spotted in San Francisco Bay, bringing enough of a concern that it was tracked to ensure it would not affect racing.[80]

Race fourteen was another start-to-end win by Oracle. Starting in the leeward position, Spithill again luffed Barker hard substantially past the reach mark. This set up a strong lead for the first downwind beat. On the upwind leg Team New Zealand were able to close the lead, and at one point had to dip under the American boat. However, they could not utilise the advantage to enough effect, and Oracle led well around the top mark. Team New Zealand once again closed the lead about halfway down the fourth leg, but could not make the pass. Oracle won by 23 seconds, to bring the score to 4–8.[81][82]

Team New Zealand led off the line for race fifteen, but the leeward position of the Oracle Team USA boat allowed them to round the reach mark first. A huge downwind leg from the American boat saw them round the leeward gate 1 minute ahead of Team New Zealand. Team New Zealand did not give up, and were able to cut Oracle's lead in half by the windward gate, but were unable to make up the rest of the gap. Oracle had their best day in the race yet, winning both races to bring the score to 5-8.[83]

Day 13: September 23

The start of race sixteen was delayed for 30 minutes while the race committee waited for the wind to increase. Emirates Team New Zealand took the leeward position at the start line but Oracle Team USA was able to sail on their foils, and sailed over on top of the New Zealand boat to lead by five seconds at the reach mark.[84] At the second mark, the New Zealand team were 13 seconds behind Oracle and after a tacking duel upwind to the third mark, Oracle was able to obtain the wind advantage for the downwind leg. Oracle sailed conservatively downwind gaining a 21-second lead for the fourth mark, which they extended to 33 seconds by finish line.[84] The score was now 6–8. It was Oracle's 5th straight win.[85]

The earlier delay meant no second race for the day, as it would have exceeded the cutoff time of 2:40pm.[86]

Day 14: September 24

Race seventeen saw two penalties at the start against Emirates Team New Zealand. During the prestart, Dean Barker made his move too early, allowing Spithill to hook Barker. Oracle then took full advantage of their windward-leeward right of way, forcing Barker to attempt to stay out of the way. Due to the extremely low boat speed at the time, Team New Zealand was unable to avoid the American boat, and there was contact between the two AC72s as a second penalty was awarded against the New Zealand boat.[87] By the time the penalties had been completed, Oracle had accelerated away to find themselves ahead by 18 seconds at the reach mark. Oracle built on this to obtain a 29-second lead to leeward gate, although this was trimmed to 19 seconds at the end of the third leg. Oracle went on to win by 27 seconds and cut Team New Zealand's lead to 7–8.[88][89]

"We're not going to stop--we're going to keep going all the way to the end", said Spithill. "We really want this. You can sense it on board".[90] Barker called this defeat "an absolute shocker" as he ended in "a really dead spot".[88]

In race eighteen the New Zealand boat led at the start and up to the first mark. They set the speed record of the series, reaching 47.57 knots (55 mph, 88 kph) as they rounded the mark, to lead by 5 seconds. They kept the lead during the first downwind run, but Oracle took the lead at the first crossing on the upwind leg, after Team New Zealand made a poor tack. Team New Zealand had starboard tack advantage and the lead at the time, but did not properly cover Oracle. The American boat was sailing on their foils, and was able to sail past Team New Zealand without much difficulty. Oracle went on to lead by 57 seconds at the windward gate and kept the lead for the rest of race, winning by 54 seconds.[88][91]

This result tied the series 8–8 and forced a winner-take-all race. Spithill called this win "very impressive" and said, "It gives us a lot of confidence going into tomorrow", saying that Wednesday will be "the most exciting day in the history of our lives. We wouldn't want to be anywhere else".[88]

Day 15: September 25

The final day of the 34th America's Cup brought only the third winner-takes-all match in Cup history (previous such matches had occurred in 1920 and 1983). Barker and Spithill had also both moved into the top 5 all time America's Cup skippers during this regatta.[92]

Team New Zealand had port entry advantage, and were able to convert this into the leeward position at the start line and a lead around the reach mark. Oracle had a moment where both bows dipped into the water, slowing them to open some separation between the two boats. The first downwind leg saw both boats foiling at around 40 knots (74 km/h; 46 mph), at times well within 100 metres (330 ft) of each other. Team New Zealand took the lead into the upwind third leg, but were unable to hold it.[93] Oracle once again showed their upwind foiling ability and were able to pass with ease. Team New Zealand and Barker refused to give up, but in the absence of any mistakes from Oracle, they confirmed their victory 9–8 by 44 seconds on the line to the cheers of the crowd.[94][95]

At the press conference following the race, Barker said his team was "[feeling] pretty smashed, they are feeling it pretty bad", whilst Spithill said Team New Zealand were a "tough team".[96][97][98]

Safety issues concerning the AC72

The power and speed of the catamarans used in the America's Cup has attracted criticism since the AC72 rule was announced.[99] Oracle's first AC72 pitch-poled in October 2012 after only eight days of sailing. Though there were no injuries to the crew, the yacht was heavily damaged as the tide pulled it outside the bay into the Pacific Ocean. On May 9, 2013, Swedish team Artemis' first AC72 yacht flipped, resulting in the death of Olympic gold medalist Andrew James Simpson.[100] Stephen Barclay, CEO of the America's Cup Event Authority, promised a full inquiry into the events leading to Simpson's death and appointed a review committee to investigate both the Oracle and Artemis accidents, and to make recommendations for increasing the safety of the sailors.


The NBC Sports Group acquired the American television broadcast rights in 2012, making it the first time the race would be on network TV since 1992.[101]

The first two races aired on NBC with subsequent races airing live on NBC Sports Network. The races were also broadcast live and available on demand on the official America's Cup YouTube channel.

To enhance television coverage, America's Cup officials developed LiveLine, a system that inserts graphics into live shots from helicopters similar to the first down line graphics system used on American football broadcasts. LiveLine would be used to show distance between boats, boat speed, course boundaries and marks, boat paths, wind speed and ocean current direction. Race yachts carried military grade GPS tracking and telemetry systems to enhance the accuracy of measurements.[102]

The system, developed by Sportvision, Inc., the America's Cup Event Authority, and NBC Sports Network, won the George Wensel Outstanding Technical Achievement Award at the 33rd Sports Emmy Awards.

International broadcasters

  • Worldwide: YouTube[103]

  • Host broadcaster: NBC, NBC Sports Network

North America

  • Canada: Sportsnet, RDS


  • France, Monaco: Canal+

  • Austria:, Germany, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Switzerland: Servus TV

  • Cyprus: CYBC

  • Czech Republic, Slovakia: Nova Sport

  • Spain: RTVE

  • Portugal: Sport TV

  • Ireland: Sky Sports

  • Sweden: TV4

  • Russia: Ocean TV

  • United Kingdom: Sky Sports

Asia and Oceania

  • Australia: Fox Sports

  • Bangladesh, Bhutan, Brunei, Cambodia, China, East Timor, India, Indonesia, Laos, Macau, Malaysia, Maldives, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nepal, New Caledonia, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Taiwan: Fox Sports, STAR Sports

  • Hong Kong: PCCW

  • India: TEN Sports

  • Japan: TBS, TBC

  • New Zealand: TVNZ

  • Singapore: SingTel, Fox Sports, STAR Sports

South America

  • ESPN

Africa and the Middle East

  • OSN

35th America's Cup

Only moments after the win by Oracle Team USA, Hamilton Island Yacht Club in Queensland, Australia issued a challenge for the 2017 America's Cup. The challenge was accepted by the Golden Gate Yacht Club, which remained defender.[104][105][106] Australian billionaire Bob Oatley was said to be financially backing the Hamilton Island Yacht Club as the Challenger of Record.[107]

HIYC withdrew its challenge on 18 July 2014 and in November 2014 it was announced that Bermuda would host the 2017 America's Cup.[108]

See also

  • Deed of Gift of the America's Cup


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