After the closeness of Saturday's race 8, which resulted in a win for Oracle Team USA there is a hint of a turn-around for the defenders. Oracle looked faster upwind following the removal of the bowsprit, resulting in less of a bow down attitude and the constant burying of the leeward bow.
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Oracle spent Friday in the boatshed making a series of minor modifications in the quest for more speed. Skipper Jimmy Spithill wouldn’t say what changes were made to the team’s AC72, other than the forward bowsprit being removed, which saves a bit of weight. The “mods” seemed to pay off when the defender took the action to Emirates Team New Zealand on the upwind leg of Race 8, a reversal of what had played out in the first four days of racing.
With the penalty points now erased, Oracle can start to put points on the board as they chase the six point lead of ETNZ. Can Oracle come back? Race 8 showed that the unexpected can, as always in sailing, turn things on their head and there was just a glimmer of hope for the Oracle team. It's a long way back, today will be interesting . . .
15 September 2013 8:16 GMT