With a lead of 7 to 1, Emirates Team New Zealand could finish today, Tuesday, as the new holders of the America's Cup. They need two more race wins to take the Cup. Oracle Team USA have to win eight more races - they have won three to date, two of those not counting to the AC scoreline due to the pre-race penalties imposed on them.
Oracle have improved their windward performance and handling, but now have to do the seemingly impossible, win eight races before ETNZ can win just two more. Anything is possible, as we saw with the so near capsize of ETNZ, when their wing sail failed to reset on a tack. A few more feet and it could have been game-over for the Kiwis.
The racing has been some of the best ever seen in the America's Cup, with the lead changing hands throughout the racing, since Oracle tweaked their boat and found another gear. The removal of the bowsprit and the apparent modifications to the foils has transformed the windward performance, and turned this from a drag race to the first mark, to a full-on match race.
In fact a better match race than most seen in monohulls. This is match racing at speed. With the boats crossing and ducking at 80 to 90 mph closing speeds, with little allowance for error. The vision of Larry Ellison in setting the defence in these giant 72ft multihulls and bringing the event to San Francisco is coming good - not without problems on the way.
But, if the Kiwis do the expected over the coming days and complete a successful challenge they will have a huge headache, after the celebration one, to solve the problem that Ellison could not. How do you achieve this level of competition and excitement but lower the cost to open it to more teams?
Internationally, the America’s Cup Final can be viewed in more than 170 territories (from 21:00 hrs in UK). All racing is also live on America’s Cup YouTube channel (subject to territorial restrictions).
17 September 2013 7:19