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Emirates Team New Zealand has lost race 8 of the America’s Cup match. Drama on the upwind leg 3, in which NZL5 looked perilously close to a capsize, cost New Zealand the race.
Race 9, which was delayed for 15 minutes because the wind was over the limit, was abandoned early on leg three when the wind exceeded 23 knots for a 5 min period.
New Zealand had a handy lead at the time. In fact, New Zealand controlled both races – race 8 until an hydraulic problem as they were going through a lee-bow tack let Oracle sail past and on race 9 NZL5 was leading upwind when the race was called off.
Barker and crew was away first on both starts, led around the first and second marks twice. That was the game plan and it worked as it was supposed to until the tack and the breeze intervened.
Barker said after race 8: “That’s what happens when the wing doesn’t tack, but the boat does.”
“We had a pretty good tussle with Oracle. At the top of the upwind leg it was a marginal cross. The call to tack to leeward was a bit rushed and we missed the hydraulics.
“The wing sucked the boat over. Fortunately the guys continued grinding and the wing tacked. It was as close as we have ever been to going on our side.
“That one mistake cost us the race and came close to costing more than that. Some one was looking down at us today.
It was the closest we have been to a capsize in the AC72 but we have been there plenty of times in the AC45.
Barker said: “These boats demand a huge amount of respect. Everyone on the boat has that respect. We don’t think the boats are dangerous. You have to be competitive and on your game.”
After race 9 was abandoned, tactician Ray Davies said: “We were in pretty good shape; it would have been nice to finish it.”
Barker added: “The limits are the limits and we respect that. We felt we were in a good spot during race 9 and it would have been interesting.”
Emirates Team New Zealand remains on eight points. Oracle, with two wins, has wiped the two-point penalty imposed by the jury. Oracle needs nine wins to retain the America’s Cup; Emirates Team New Zealand needs three.
Race 8 Performance Data
Course: 5 Legs/10.16 nautical miles
Elapsed Time: OTUSA – 23:09, ETNZ – 24:01
Delta: OTUSA +:52
Total distance sailed: OTUSA – 11.4 NM, ETNZ – 11.7 NM
Average Speed: OTUSA – 29.90 knots (34 mph), ETNZ – 29.32 knots (34 mph)
Top Speed: OTUSA – 44.58 knots (51 mph), ETNZ – 47.02 knots (54 mph)
Windspeed: Average – 16.6 knots, Peak – 19.6 knots
Number of Tacks/Jibes: OTUSA – 8/8, ETNZ – 9/7