America's Cup: Key questions from dramatic day

By Paul Lewis, Dana Johannsen

The moment it almost went horribly wrong for Team NZ. Image / TVNZ
The moment it almost went horribly wrong for Team NZ. Image / TVNZ

Herald yachting experts Dana Johannsen and Paul Lewis answer the burning questions from a day of near-disaster for Team New Zealand in the America's Cup

1. What is the single biggest difference between the Oracle of Sunday morning and the Oracle of Friday morning?

DJ: They've got rid of every bit of weighted windage possible to make inroads into Team New Zealand's upwind advantage and it seems to have worked.

PL: They may well have found a modification to help their boat upwind but, as with Race 4 (which the Kiwis also lost), OTUSA look happier in stronger winds. They also sailed better; their tacks were much improved and they got nicely out of phase with Team NZ so that Ray Davies couldn't tie them up in knots.

2. Worried?

DJ: Yes. Not just about the gains Oracle Team USA have been able to make upwind, but Team NZ's near-capsize showed just how on the edge these racing machines are. They came within a couple of degrees of having their $120m campaign end in tatters of carbon fibre.

PL: Yes, though the percentages are still with Team NZ. Dean Barker was a picture of self-control and quiet confidence and they sailed well in Race 9 until it was abandoned.

3. There was obviously a moment of high drama in Race 8: If Team NZ hadn't saved that, what are the chances of coming back from a capsize?

DJ: Very slim. They have their first (less refined) boat in San Francisco, but it would take them at least 72 hours to reconfigure.

PL: About as much as Artemis'. If that boat had gone over and broken up, game over...probably. The reserve boat has been cannibalised for parts for the race boat. A damaged boat can, in theory, be repaired but it would be a desperate and probably thankless task. Gulp.

- NZ Herald

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