Timeline of Team Oracle USA's Improbable 2013 America's Cup Comeback Win

Richard Langford@@noontide34Correspondent ISeptember 26, 2013

Trailing 8-1 in the best-of-17 America's Cup, captain James Spithill and his Oracle Team USA crew authored a comeback for the ages. 

With their eighth straight race win on Wednesday, Team USA won the 34th America's Cup. 

Anytime you have a comeback of that magnitude, there is going to be some excitement. However, this America's Cup offered excitement beyond the comeback. The foiling catamarans provided for thrilling racing with abundant lead changes. 

I can't imagine the America's Cup will ever be the same after this stunning competition. 

At any rate, let's relive how all the drama played out. 


Sept. 2, 2013

It was clear before the racing ever began that this America's Cup was going to be different. Not only did we have the foiling catamarans, but the biggest penalty in the history of the America's Cup was levied upon Team Oracle. 

The Americans were found to have made illegal modifications to their vessel. As a result, Oracle was docked two points and sailor Dirk de Ridder, as well as two offshore crew members, were expelled. 

Following the punishment, Team USA had to win 11 races to New Zealand's nine to take the Cup. 

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - SEPTEMBER 23:  Oracle Team USA skippered by James Spithill races against Emirates Team New Zealand skippered by Dean Barker during race 16 of the America's Cup Finals on September 23, 2013 in San Francisco, California. Oracles Team USA
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images


Sept. 7, 2013

Racing got underway on Sept. 7, and it was evident from the start this was going to be a different brand of racing. With the boats reaching speeds of over 40 miles per hour, they were swapping leads with regularity and coming insanely close to each other. 

While the race was close early, the Kiwis dominated the Americans on the upwind leg and cruised to a comfortable victory. 

The second race didn't go any better for the Americans. The Kiwis were superior in tacking and swept the first day of action. 

Standings After Race Day 1: Team New Zealand 2, Team USA -2


Sept. 8, 2013

Oracle got off to a strong start in the first race and opened up an early 17-second lead. However, much like Day 1, the Kiwis dominated the Americans on the upwind leg and on tacks and turns. 

The Kiwis wound up easily overtaking Team USA and crossing the finish line first. 

At that moment, there was little hope for the Americans. The boat was not performing well, and the crew members did not seem as sharp as their counterparts.  

The wind picked up in the second race, and the Oracle catamaran responded well. To aid this, Spithill avoided a tacking battle and was able to pull off Team USA's first win. 

Standings After Race Day 2: Team New Zealand 3, Team USA -1


Sept. 10, 2013

Any thoughts of a momentum swing in the Americans' first race win quickly disappeared. 

Once again, the Americans got off to a good start and jumped out to the early lead—only to have the Kiwis dominate on the upwind leg. 

Team New Zealand rolled the Americans and sent them into such disarray that the Americans used their one postponement card for the Cup despite not having any damage to the boat. 

Standings After Race Day 3: Team New Zealand 4, Team USA -1


Sept. 12, 2013

After having played the postponement card, it stood to reason that Team Oracle would come back with a better effort. 

It didn't happen. It was more of the same in San Francisco Bay, and Team New Zealand swept the day of racing. 

There was nothing to suggest the Americans could turn things around. 

Standings After Race Day 4: Team New Zealand 6, Team USA -1


Sept. 14, 2013

Weather conditions allowed for just one race on this day, which worked out well for the Americans. Team USA ended its victory drought in that lone race, but that didn't come until after the Kiwis almost capsized. 

The luck continued for the Americans, as the second race, which the Kiwis were leading at the time, was called off due to high winds. 

Standings After Race Day 5: Team New Zealand 6, Team USA 0


Sept. 15, 2013

This was the first real glimmer of hope for the Americans. The Oracle catamaran dominated the day's first race, largely due to its performance on the upwind leg. This was in stark contrast to what transpired the first week. 

Still, things had not shifted so much in the Americans' favor that they might sweep the day's activities. The Kiwis edged out the Americans in what proved to be a very competitive race. It was clear that the Americans had closed the gap, but it also seemed that the Americans had dug themselves too big of a hole. 

Standings After Race Day 6: Team New Zealand 7, Team USA 1


Sept. 18, 2013

The Kiwis nailed the start in the day's first race and led through the finish. This moved them to eight wins, and the crew appeared determined to bring the America's Cup home early. 

This is when the wind intervened and perhaps Team USA's luck had taken effect once again. With excessive wind speeds, the second race was called off. 

Standings After Race Day 7: Team New Zealand 8, Team USA 1


Sept. 19, 2013

With no margin for error, Team USA nailed the start and forced the Kiwis to tack away in the process. The Americans went on to post a strong run and led from start to finish. 

Once again, the wind was responsible for halting a race. There was just one race on the day. 

Standings After Race Day 8: Team New Zealand 8, Team USA 2


Sept. 20, 2013

Confidence was washing over the Oracle crew at this point, and it showed. The Americans got off to another strong start and put together a fine overall performance. It was becoming evident that the Oracle catamaran was gaining speed.

Still, it seemed like too much to ask for Team USA to rattle off six more wins consecutively. 

Standings After Race Day 9: Team New Zealand 8, Team USA 3

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - SEPTEMBER 23:  Oracle Team USA skippered by James Spithill (L) and Emirates Team New Zealand skippered by Dean Barker in action during race 16 of the America's Cup finals on September 23, 2013 in San Francisco, California. Oracle Team
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images


Sept. 22, 2013

The Americans grabbed the lead at the start once again in this race. However, the Kiwis made up some ground on the upwind leg. 

Still, the Oracle catamaran had built up enough speed to hold off the challenger. The team went on to post a 23-second win. 

The Americans opened up an even bigger early lead in the second race, but like the first race of the day, the Kiwis made their move on the upwind leg. While they closed the gap all the way to the finish line, the Americans' lead was too much to overcome.

Dreams of a comeback felt a little more tangible at this point. 

Standings After Race Day 10: Team New Zealand 8, Team USA 5


Sept. 23, 2013

Once again, wind limited the day's action to just one race. However, one race was all Team USA needed to prove its boat was reaching new heights. 

The Oracle catamaran was spending more and more time up on its foils, and the Kiwis could not keep up. The Americans secured a dominant win. 

Standings After Race Day 11: Team New Zealand 8, Team USA 6


Sept. 24, 2013

In the pre-start to the day's first race, the Kiwis were penalized twice after making contact with the Oracle catamaran. This gave the Americans a big lead from the onset, and they'd picked up way too much speed to relinquish it.

In the second race, the Kiwis atoned for their poor start in the first race and held the early lead. 

Team USA managed to haul in the Kiwis, and on the third leg, the Americans made their pass. 

Team USA held that lead and improbably tied this competition up, which set the stage for a winner-take-all, final-race showdown. 

Standings After Race Day 12: Team New Zealand 8, Team USA 8


Sept. 25, 2013

With the drama meter at 10, the Kiwis grabbed the early lead. That lead was increased when the Oracle catamaran dipped into the water and slowed Team USA down. 

The Americans decided to split the race and then gained ground on Team New Zealand. Still, when the boats first crossed, the Kiwis held a narrow lead. 

When the boats came to cross the third time, the Americans had captured the lead, and it was evident they had too much velocity to be caught. 

The Americans cruised to an easy win and completed their historic comeback. 

Final Results After Race Day 13: Team New Zealand 8, Team USA 9 


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