After an action-packed Week 1 of the 2013 America's Cup, Team New Zealand and Team USA are at it again in Week 2.
Week 1 saw New Zealand take a commanding lead through the first six races, but Week 2 was a much better showing for Oracle—the Team USA representative—as it narrowed the Kiwi's lead to 6-0 after starting the day at one-under thanks to a two-point deduction levied against the team before the cup got underway.
High winds had a high impact on Race 8 and ultimately forced officials to call off Race 9.
Let's take a look at this exciting action shot which does a fantastic job of summing up Saturday's sailing action:
That soggy pic was as intense as the racing got on Saturday as the wind would not cooperate and the festivities were postponed until tomorrow.
With their backs all the way against the wall, the crew members for Team USA came out on Thursday and executed a nearly flawless race.
The Americans pulled out a 31-second victory in Thursday's first race to close New Zealand's lead to 8-2 in this first to nine contest.
The Americans forced the Kiwis to tack away late in the pre race and assumed control from the start.
Team USA would build on its early lead and cruised to the finish line with a comfortable win.
With the wind hovering near the maximum, all eyes were on the start clock for the second race:
The clock had dipped below two minutes when the wind picked up just enough to end racing for the day.
The teams will hit the water on Friday, and hopefully get in some racing. If the Americans can win the first race tomorrow, these guys will attempt to get two races in. Of course, the next time the Kiwis win, this Americas Cup is over.
High winds and a strong ebb tide caused organizers to call off both races on Tuesday, as noted by Oracle Team USA:
Racing will resume on Wednesday—provided Mother Nature cooperates, that is—starting at 4:15 p.m. ET, as noted by America's Cup Racing:
With the wind maintaining around 19 knots on Sunday, Team USA came out and dominated the first race.
The Americans were strong from the start, but it was on the upwind leg where they made the most of their opportunities. This was a notable change from Week 1. Team New Zealand had been dominant on the upwind leg.
This was exactly what the Americans needed. Not just a win, but a dominant win. At the end of this race Team USA still has to win eight of the next ten to keep the cup. Race 9 was the kind of effort this team needed to tell itself and the Kiwis that it is capable of pulling off the massive comeback.
Remember the statement win I was just talking about? Well, Team New Zealand muted it in the day's second race.
While the ending was a huge disappointment to the Americans, they definitely came out to battle and it was a thrilling race.
The Kiwis has the early lead, but again the Americans made a strong move while heading upwind and they seized the lead. However, it didn't last long.
The Kiwis wound up coasting to a 16-second victory and are now only need to more wins to capture the Americas Cup.
Oracle picked up a much-needed victory in Race 8 by establishing a 52-second lead over New Zealand as it crossed the finish line, per Oracle's Twitter feed.
The race was a tight contest throughout as both team's exchanged the lead throughout the five legs. The turning point came when New Zealand nearly capsized, and Oracle took the lead.
This was an incredible race to watch. Both team's reached speeds over 50 mph.
Overall, both teams were sailing at an average of 34 miles per hour according to America's Cup. Add in the drama of New Zealand's near capsize and you had one of the most entertaining races of a rather lopsided Cup so far.
The victory brought Team USA to an even zero points for the cup. They will still need nine more wins to successfully defend their title.
From the outset it appeared that Race 9 would be difficult to run as wind speeds were flirting with the limits. The race would get started, but not before a wind delay:
New Zealand got off to a hot start as both teams flew toward the first mark. The Kiwis established the slightest of leads after dropping the first race.
Unfortunately lady luck wasn't on their side, and the early lead would be all for naught. The race was called shortly thereafter because the wind speeds were simply too high to continue the race safely.
The second race will be re-sailed on Sunday along with Race 10 as Oracle looks to continue its run at a comeback and the Kiwis attempt to take the next step in becoming the defenders of the cup.