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From the Boathouse: Down to the wire in America's Cup

September 20, 2013|By Mike Whitehead

Ahoy!

San Francisco was boasting beautiful weather Thursday with mostly sunny skies and 72-degree air temperatures for Race 12, which was the first and only race of day number nine. Winds were at 16 knots at first but increased in the afternoon, and the weather matched the previous day's conditions except for a flood tide at the beginning of the race.

The first race had a wind limit of 22.2 knots and the second race's limit was 20.3 knots.

Light crowds were watching from the America's Cup Park at Pier 27, where the media center is located along with excellent amenities for spectators.

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As the race began, Oracle Team USA, the defenders, did a great hook maneuver before the start line to cross the line first and take the lead. USA stayed in front of Emirates Team New Zealand, the challengers, around mark 1 with a five-second delta. USA continued to hold the lead on the downwind leg, averaging 34 knots of speed.

USA rounded the outside of mark 2 with a 11-second lead and headed offshore while the Kiwis rounded shoreside of the mark to sail closer to shore. Both teams then tacked upwind, reaching speeds of 30-plus knots with USA maintaining a substantial lead to mark 3.

Mark 3 was rounded by USA first, but the Kiwis closed the gap to just a six-second delta at the mark.

Then USA built a considerable mid-450-meter lead at mark 4 with a 29-second delta over the Kiwis. Eyeing the finish line, USA crossed the line first to win Race 12. USA won its fourth race and increased its score to two points, with the Kiwis remaining at eight wins and eight points.

At the start time for Race 13, the winds were a repeat of the day before, when the wind limit was surpassed for the second race of the day. The start was postponed until the final starting time was reached and the race was canceled. Now, the races move to Friday, where two races are scheduled and more favorable wind conditions are anticipated for the afternoon.

I will be reporting from San Francisco Bay on Friday for day number 10.

The second race last Saturday was canceled because of high winds for Race 9. The races are canceled if the winds exceed the daily set limit, which was 22.6-knot limit for Saturday. However, just before the postponement of the day's racing, Team USA won Race 8 by delta of 52 seconds after a very scary experience for the Kiwis.

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