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Old 09-23-2013
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Re: AC 34 - What If?

By the time the Kiwis had their commanding lead in the series, I had found myself coming up with all sorts of reasons why it was so lopsided but couldn't accept the possibility Oracle's problem against Emirate was one of experience.

Oracle was getting killed on the 3dr leg and it seemed no matter what kind of lead they had built at the start and on the 2nd leg, it was erased and then some in the 3rd leg. Now Oracle is winning that leg. They are even getting up on their foils, something many doubted these boats could do to windward.

When I watched the races yesterday I began to understand just how much of an advantage the challenger had racing in the LV series. The AC72 is a brand new boat, foiling is a new concept to the AC, and there's a high learning curve becoming proficient with these boats. I'm beginning to think the early drubbings Oracle had taken were mostly due to lack of experience with the AC72.

In yesterday's races I saw an Oracle team that simply out-sailed Emirates. Then made better tactical decisions, got better speed out of their boat and found the better winds. I don't know how much was the addition of Ainslie to the crew, but it seems he and Spithill are really in synch.

I know the chances of Oracle winning the remaining races is slim. They really can't make a mistake. But while I'd be amazed if they did, there's a part of me that almost expecting it... almost.
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