With the boats racing closer to shore than any of the America's Cups that came before it, fans are being treated to a thrilling spectacle of racing off the coast of San Francisco. So far, that has been far more joyous for fans of Emirates Team New Zealand.
The Kiwis, with skipper Dean Barker at the helm of the 72-foot catamaran, have been dominant so far. This has them in firm control as they try to reclaim the America's Cup.
Also, not only has Team New Zealand got off to a fast start, but Team USA began this competition with a two-point penalty that was levied when it was ruled the Americans cheated.
As a result, Team New Zealand started this competition needing to win nine races, while Team USA had to win 11 to defend its championship.
So far conditions have been nearly ideal for the event. Here is a shot from Saturday's opening day of competition:
The boats reached speeds of more than 50 miles per hour as the vessels spent most of the race essentially flying over the water. This is far removed from the monohull days of the America's Cup. While traditionalists will still find reasons to complain, this set up for some excellent viewing and great racing.
Team New Zealand won Race 6 against Team USA on Thursday by 45.6 seconds, per America's Cup:
It was New Zealand's fifth win in six races against the United States this year.
Team New Zealand tweeted after yet another convincing victory:
It was an aggressive race, highlighted by a "dial-down" from New Zealand captain Dean Barker in the third leg. USA skipper Jimmy Spithill was forced to veer away after Barker won the game of chicken, costing the Americans a good second or two, according to Tom Fitzgerald of SFGate.com.
The upwind third leg was a tacking battle, which once again favored New Zealand against the Americans.
Race 7 was simply a continuation of the Kiwis' dominance.
In the final race of the day, New Zealand beat USA by over a minute, per Team New Zealand's official Twitter page:
America's Cup added:
The Kiwis got off to a quick start in Race 7, reaching the first mark with a lead of two seconds, per AmericasCup.com.
New Zealand stretched its lead to seven seconds on the downwind leg, as both teams rounded the leeward gate on starboard.
But it was in the third leg that New Zealand once again dominated the Americans, finishing the leg with a 56-second lead with four nautical miles to go.
After Day 4 of America's Cup 2013, Team USA finds itself needing to make up a lot of ground...or, er, ocean.
The Americans entered the third day of racing at the America's Cup fresh off of their first victory of the competition after losing the first three.
They did nothing with the momentum.
Team New Zealand soundly beat Team USA on a fine day for sailing.
Team USA actually got off to a good start in this race.
However, as they have been all competition, the Kiwis dominated on the upwind leg after two tacks. And with that, this race was all but over.
The victory was thorough that it appeared to force the Americans into a need for a regrouping. With no apparent structural damage, Team USA played its only postponement card and there was just one race on this day.
The flying boats were back in action on Sunday, and there has been plenty of ways to enjoy the visually stunning action:
Under overcast skies and fog, the water was a little more rough than it was in the opening day. The wind was averaging around 16 knots, according to AmericasCup.com.
The Americans got off to the strong start they needed. Team USA took the lead into the first reach mark and led by 17 seconds at the leeward gate.
However, much like in the first race on Saturday, the two teams engaged in a tacking battle and the Kiwis dominated.
New Zealand took the lead and never looked back:
The Americans have the speed to contend, but they were losing it on the turns and in tacking.
The sun started to burn through and the wind began to pick up in the second race. This worked out well for the Americans.
Once again, the Americans took the early lead, and then made a key adjustment from the first three races. The Americans avoided a tacking war in this race.
Team USA's vessel has nice speed, but it definitely does not tack as well. So, American skipper James Spithill decided to try to capitalize on the speed and minimize the tacking.
As a result, the Americans led this the whole way and finally earned their first win.
New Zealand finished the first race with a comfortable 36-second victory.
However, the majority of the racing action was anything but comfortable.
The first race of the 34th America's Cup featured two lead changes and some close racing:
Keep this in mind when looking at how close the boats are to each other: The sailors spent much of the day travelling at speeds over 40 miles per hour.
The Kiwis wrestled control in the third leg when they began to take advantage while going upwind:
The tacking for the Kiwis was superior in Race 1.
During the first race, the Americans suffered a tear in the wing. Patching the wing was not difficult; however, having that patch maintain its integrity and keeping the wind out for the whole race—with the breeze picking up to almost 20 knots—was another story.
The Americans could have called off the race. Each team has that option for one second stage over the course of this competition. However, Oracle wanted to hang onto that option.
Perhaps that was a poor choice. The Americans were never in contention in the second race.
Team New Zealand carried an average speed of 35 miles per hour (30.12 knots) in the second race. This was two miles per hour faster than the Americans averaged.
This has to have Team Oracle's billionaire owner Larry Ellison a touch worried. His team is going to have to do something to gain some speed that wasn't displayed on Saturday. Otherwise, it is impossible to see Team USA winning 11 of the next 17 races.
The crews will return to action on Sunday for another two races.
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