Thirteen was far from lucky for Emirates Team New Zealand as they went back to their base rueing the cruel fate of being beaten by the clock when within just a few minutes of taking the America’s Cup away from Oracle Racing USA and then suffering a penalty on the re-run and losing by over 80 seconds.
Race 13 started with the Kiwis needing just one more win to win the Cup for the second time and the conditions were the lightest seen in the best of 17 so far. New Zealand won the start, established a lead of over a kilometre but could do nothing as the clock counted down the 40-minute time limit with the finish line in sight. Television schedules are an important part of the 34 defence of the 162-year old trophy.
ETNZ skipper Dean Barker also won the start of the second race but a few errors in boat positioning plus having to take a penalty when the umpires said he had fouled Oracle without right of way and what could have been riotous assembly on a Friday night turned into an intense debrief ahead of coming out to race again on Saturday.
Oracle skipper praised his British Olympian tactician Ben Ainslie’s “fantastic job” and added: “What a fantastic race. It’s been a really tough day.”
Barker remained his usual calm self but admitted: “It’s been a very frustrating day to be so close and yet so far away.”
No-one will be happier about that than the event organisers praying for big weekend crowds.
The scoreline, after Oracle takes into account a two-point penalty, now reads 8 - 3 to the Kiwis and the New Zealand government will be hoping that this campaign can be wrapped up on what will be Sunday Down Under just so that everyone will be back at work on Monday.