As a jubilant nation continues the revelry associated with the successful pirating of the America’s Cup by a team of Kiwi buccaneers operating on a shoestring budget, Emirates Team New Zealand was taking to the airwaves to reveal how they had sandbagged Team Oracle leader Jimmy Spithill at the starting line.
For the record, acknowledging that sports such as yachting are international in nature, there were no Americans on the boat for Tam Oracle. They did have a nice chest full of Oracle billionaire Larry Ellison’s U.S. dollars, however, apparently not enough to retain the Auld Mug.
The Kiwi strategy was to under-perform at the start during the Challenger Series.
It was simply the most recent in a long list of occasions where the Kiwis pooled the wool over Aussie eyes. Peter Burling pulled the feint off to a “T,” making Spithill think that the Emirates boat did not have the initial speed off the line. Doubt over that staring speed was never more convincingly erased than in race seven of the Final, where Burling left Spithill and Team Oracle dead in the water and gained a 12 second advantage before Oracle could even get across the starting line.
Burling made enormous leaps in his match-racing abilities over the course of the series, to the extent that when it came time for the young Kiwi to take on the master Aussie sailor, he beat Spithill to the start in seven of the nine races it required Emirates Team New Zealand to capture the America’s Cup.
It turns out that Emirates had more going for it than the radical cyclors used to power their boat’s hydraulic system. They also used a technique where they were able to hide the fact that they were preparing to gybe when sailing downwind, which often caught both challengers and Spithill’s team flat-footed and scrambling.
The so called “no-look gybe” had never been used in the actual heat of a competition, although it had been practiced on other occasions.