Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Libby, America's Cup Final

Bush commuting Libby’s sentence is so expected and so much consistent with the corruption that is typical of this administration that I’m not even going to comment on it. Well, okay, I just did.    …comment further on it.

I’ll just go back to commenting on the America’s Cup.

I was right, Team New Zealand got toasted today, but it was exciting; there was a different leader at each and every mark and that is by no means typical of America’s Cup racing. Some of it was good racing and some was errors, mostly unforced errors. At least there was a nice breeze today, 17 knots, so the boats were sailing well.

The first windward leg was just plain good sailing by both teams. The Swiss boat had the right side of the course and the starboard tack advantage, and New Zealand did not manage to push them past the right-hand lay line so the Swiss led at the first mark.

Going downwind New Zealand was very close astern and the Swiss chose to gibe away before the lay line. Why they would do that simply baffles me, as it opened a door that the Kiwis sailed through and New Zealand was leading around the second mark.

Then things got really stupid.

On the first cross New Zealand had room to cross and chose not to do so, giving the Swiss an opportunity to start a tacking duel. The Kiwis have lost those every time, and they lost this one as well. Approaching the left-hand lay line they were in a position of disadvantage. They could have simply accepted the pass and followed around the mark, and then worked to pass downwind where the trailing boat has the advantage, but instead they chose an ill-advised attacking move, executed it poorly and drew a penalty.

A freak wind change gave New Zealand an opportunity, since they had already dropped their spinnaker to execute the penalty turn and the Swiss were caught aback and unready to change headsails. Anyone who has raced more than one or two regattas knows you make the penalty turn right at the line, but the Kiwis made the turn several seconds too soon and, even with the penalty turn, crossed the line two seconds behind the Swiss.

Error upon error, compounded by error.

So much has been focused on technology, $100 Million spent on building the boats, and that’s on each team not overall, that the emphasis on the art of sailing seems to have been lost. They seem to have forgotten that no matter how sophisticated the sailboat is, you still need a master sailor at the helm.

1 comment:

  1. I'm sure you saw this, but just in case...