HudsonMOD Road Trip: America’s Cup—Wow!
It was an unheralded victory for most people outside of the sailing world, but in America’s Cup Park, on San Francisco’s Pier 29, it was like being a Bostonian after the Red Sox came back from a 3-0 deficit to sweep a stunned New York Yankees squad. Except this time it was Team Emirates New Zealand on the verge of winning the oldest trophy in international sport. Sailing’s holy grail: The America’s Cup.
Climbing back from insurmountable odds, facing a margin of error that allowed nothing but victory, race after race, eyes staring down the barrel, momentum built for skipper James “Jimmy” Spithill and Team Oracle USA. Racing around the majestic San Francisco Bay in towering, high-tech 72-foot catamarans funded, in the case of the US, by Oracle CEO and owner Larry Ellison to the tune of $100 million, the catamarans circled the bay like formula one racecars without brakes. Using foils to literally fly on water, each race, with the assistance of death-defying, ever-changing tides, the boats would pass the city’s iconic landmarks, Alcatraz and the Golden Gate Bridge, only to have the winning yacht cruise past the finish line to a rallying cry of loyal supporters and throngs of international spectators. Fans of each nation enthusiastically waved their country’s flag. But with a late adjustment and much-need tuning of their sleek vessel, Team Oracle climbed back from an unprecedented seven-point deficit, eventually overcoming the odds and rallying past the shocked and disheartened Kiwis.
If polo is the sport of kings, then sailing is the sport of princes, with Spithill cementing himself as the youngest skipper of all time to win the cup, and Team Oracle surmounting—unquestionably—one of the single greatest comebacks in sports history. Or maybe it’s the sport of moguls, as Australian tycoon Bob Oatley has assumed the mantle of challenger for the 35th America’s Cup, and Ellison must once again play Defender for his priceless treasure. Bottom line? Ellison got it right fl atly stating: “This regatta has changed sailing forever.”Here’s a sampling of the amazing sportsmanship that took place during this year’s America’s Cup event: