Editor David Glenn urges you to tune in tonight for what promises to be the most nerve jangling America’s Cup race in living memory
Whatever you’ve got planned tonight ditch
it in favour of watching the final enthralling episode of the 34th
America’s Cup final. 2100 Sky Sports 2 HD or YouTube. Be there!
Tension like this hasn’t been experienced
since 1983 when the BBC and ITV broke into scheduled broadcasts to witness Alan
Bond and Australia 11 take the America’s Cup away from the USA for the first
time in the event’s history.
This time it’s a triple whammy, a comeback
story of unbelievable proportions, the unexpected success of the most
outrageous yachts seen in the history of the sport and the added spice of that
GBR super sailing maestro Sir Ben Ainslie. At 2115 tonight, as long as mother
nature doesn’t intervene we’ll be going through the full gamut of emotions that
only cliff hanging sporting events like this can produce. It’s the equivalent
of two Usain Bolts lining up on the same race track.
For Oracle Team USA’s Jimmy Spithill and
his dream team Olympic afterguard of Ben Ainslie and Australian Laser ace Tom
Slingsby, they’re on an adrenaline-fuelled high having come from 8-1 down and
staring down the barrel of ignominious defeat to being on the brink of the
biggest comeback in sailing and arguably international sporting history.
For Dean Barker and Emirates Team New
Zealand defeat seems just a race away as they search desperately for a riposte
to the Americans’ massive improvement in performance both in terms of strategic
decision making and sheer boat speed.
Whereas Spithill and the Americans
discovered extra speed and brought in Olympic star Ainslie at the expense of
veteran John Kostecki to beef up the decision making and turn their fortunes
round at the 11th hour, Barker appears to be running on empty, the
wheels coming off his campaign. There seems to be nothing left.
Why has the turnaround been so dramatic?
For me it’s a combination of the re-configuring of the Oracle boat, Spithill’s
new found ability to foil upwind and sail marginally deeper downwind plus the
Olympic factor. By that I mean the teaming up of Ainslie and Slingsby two men
who have been through the high intensity of recent Olympic campaigns in which
their tactical skills are honed to perfection and, crucially, are trained
psychologically in the art of coming from behind to win.
Barker and tactician Ray Davies on the
other hand have not been through that process and perhaps that is the
difference we’re seeing on the race course in San Francisco Bay this week.
Neither team was seriously put to the test before these finals began but only
Oracle have been able to find an extra gear.
But wait a minute. These 50mph boats are
virtually neck and neck in terms of speed, the Kiwis never ever give up and as
we’ve been seeing all week, just about anything can happen.
Which is why you need to be on the edge of
your seat like me tonight watching what in sailing terms can justifiably be
regarded as the greatest show on earth!