21 Sep 2013

Oracle win race re-run

1:50 pm on 21 September 2013

Oracle Team USA won a re-run of race 13 of the America's Cup in San Francisco on Saturday after Team New Zealand was penalised.

Team NZ won the start by two boat lengths and rounded mark one three seconds clear of Oracle.

But downwind, Team New Zealand was penalised after turning too close to Oracle forcing the Cup holders to alter course to avoid a collision.

The challenger was 46 seconds behind Oracle at the third mark and one minute behind at mark four.

Oracle won by one minute 24 seconds.

"Sometimes a couple of things go your way, and you've got to take those things,'' said skipper Jimmy Spithill. It was a fantastic second race."

Team New Zealand earlier lost a race against the clock in light winds in San Francisco Bay before the race time limit was reached in race 13.

Afterwards, Team New Zealand skipper Dean Barker was philosophical:

"It was a very frustrating day, to be honest," he said. "I think we sailed a pretty solid first race - it was disappointing to be that close, yet so far away."

Barker said there was no doubt in his mind that they could wrap up the America's Cup on Sunday (NZT).

"The guys are very positive - we know we can win this thing, we just have to put it together on the day."

Oracle has now won four of the last five races.

Two more races scheduled for Sunday (New Zealand time).

Earlier race

Oracle won the start of race 13 in the America's Cup series, but the challengers had a lead of 1 minute 42 seconds at the second mark and led by 2 minutes 27 seconds at the third mark.

Boat speeds were much slower than previous races and 40 minutes is the maximum duration for the race.

Team NZ did not finish before the deadline.

The challenger arrived at gate four more than 1km ahead of Oracle just as the time limit for the race expired. The race was then re-run.

Team New Zealand still needs only one more win, while Oracle Team USA needs six more to retain the Cup.

America's Cup regatta director Iain Murray, who oversees the racing, said the 40 minute time limit rule was agreed by all the competitors last year.

Murray said time limits are nothing new to yacht racing or the America's Cup, and the limit is almost double this year's course record of 21 minutes and 52 seconds.

Only one race was possible on each of the past two days because of wind speeds above the race limits.

Team NZ's bid to win the Cup has been slowed by a rapidly improving Oracle, which has found more boat speed and brought in a new tactician after an early series of losses.

While a win for Team New Zealand will end the regatta, organisers have begun talks with the coastguard, on racing possibly extending beyond Monday.

View a photo gallery from the America's Cup

Spectators not sanguine

Some of those watching the racing at yacht clubs around New Zealand were not quite as philosophical as Dean Baker about the day's results.

Their disappointment was fast and vocal when it was announced Team New Zealand ran out of time to complete the first race. Jeers broke out.

Many had expected Team New Zealand to win the Cup on Saturday and were incredibly disappointed.

But the fans are showing no sign of regatta fatigue and promise to be back at the waterfront venues on Sunday morning.