Newspaper article Sunshine Coast Daily (Maroochydore, Australia)

The Wind Is Called a Trier

Newspaper article Sunshine Coast Daily (Maroochydore, Australia)

The Wind Is Called a Trier

Article excerpt

SAILING: With everybody on the edge of their seats waiting to see if Team New Zealand could pull off a famous victory in yesterday's second race, Mother Nature decided to have a little fun with us.

The day was playing out the way Emirates Team NZ had hoped. They won the first race of the day to move to match point in the series, with a commanding 8-1 lead over Oracle Team USA.

Just one race away from clinching the Auld Mug - often described as the hardest trophy in sport to win - Dean Barker had the boat well positioned off the start-line in race 12. And then ... bewilderment.

The boats stopped dead as the race committee informed them the wind had exceeded the limits in the pre-start and the race had been postponed. Soon after, racing was abandoned as the wind continued to build on San Francisco Bay.

It was an anticlimactic end to what was shaping up to be a historic day for New Zealand sport.

Mother Nature was toying with us. But today must surely be the day.

If Kiwi fans are beginning to get impatient about it, imagine what is going on inside the minds of Barker and his crew. It was over four months ago they first touched down in San Francisco to commence their preparation for the 34th America's Cup and it has been a long, gruelling campaign. They've endured the drawn out controversy of "ruddergate", countless other pre-Cup mind games, a dire lack of competition during the challenger series and two heart-stopping near-capsizes.

And now they are poised one race from victory.

Having stubbornly stuck to the "one race at a time" line throughout the regatta, Barker wasn't about to abandon the script coming off the water yesterday.

"It's funny, it feels a lot better being one away than two, but it still feels a long, long way away," he said. "We know we've got to win another point and we'll just have to be as focused as we have been as trying to go out and win one of the races [today],"

Oracle skipper James Spithill borrowed from the Team NZ PR playbook when asked how his team would approach today's races, knowing a loss would mean the end of their Cup defence. …

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