I was a little worried when filmmaker Greg Roscoe got in touch and offered to send along a copy of his new documentary, Raw Faith: A Family Saga. The film follows the story of George McKay and his bizarre mock galleon, Raw Faith, and my fear was Roscoe would seek to romanticize both him and his boat. As I remarked here three years ago when Raw Faith finally sank off Cape Cod, though I always admired McKay's tenacity, his parody of a vessel made my skin crawl. She was, very obviously, a disaster waiting to happen.
News & Views
I was just pulling into a mooring field in Sebasco after sailing across Casco Bay from Portland, when I got a phone call from Phil "Snake Wake" Cavanaugh, who was somewhere in central Europe at the time, telling me that Oracle had just won races 17 and 18 and had forced a final race 19 to decide it all. I had been planning this last long outing of the season for weeks and wasn't about to let Cup fever thwart it, but I was willing to stay over a day in Sebasco so I could watch the last race in the bar at the little resort there.
Of course, all Phil wants to talk about (now and then) is how wrong I was in picking the Kiwis to win way back when. And that's cool. I'm very glad I was wrong, because I'm sure I won't ever see anything like this again in my lifetime.
OH. MY. GOD. I can't believe this madness hasn't ended yet. I was certain Team New Zealand was going to win one of the races yesterday, as the Oracle crew had yet to do better than split decisions on days when two races were sailed. But now Oracle has in fact won four in a row and "only" needs four more.
This is starting to seem almost feasible. And I think Dean Barker is starting to think the same thing. He hasn't been looking too happy at press conferences lately.
Light wind yesterday... and for the first time we saw the big black cats flying gennakers, or Code Zeros, or screechers, or whatever the hell you want to call them. And Oracle had trouble with theirs... and were way way way behind... and Team New Zealand was less than a mile from the finish... when the race was called as the time limit expired. So they tried again...
We're hard on it, sports fans. The Oracle boys dropped a hard-fought race on Wednesday (two lead changes, plus a big surge on the last downwind leg) and now can't afford to drop any more. One more win and Team New Zealand will be taking our tin back to Auckland. Oracle did what they had to do yesterday to stay alive--slam-dunked the Kiwis at the start and led all the way to the finish line. Check out their speed upwind in that viddy up there. Full foiling action with top speeds over 30 knots. They just keep getting better!
I'm holding my breath: how much longer can they drag this out???
I've had a brief exchange of comments following my last full post on the Cup with a fellow named Alex D who complains he is bored by this America's Cup and cites the lack of sail-handling as one reason for this. True enough, there are no sail changes mid-race in this new species of Cup competition, and I'll admit I sort of miss that, too. But it's not true that sail-handling is irrelevant, as Team New Zealand demonstrated in dramatic fashion on Saturday when they mishandled their wing during a tack and almost capsized their boat. Alex D: Pls. skip to 28:30 in the video above and describe below how boring it is.
I was going to blog about the Cup again after watching race 4 on Sunday and planned to cheerfully announce how wrong I was in my last post on the subject. I am an optimist at heart, and I was ready to drink all the Kool-Aid in sight after watching Oracle finally beat Emirates Team New Zealand in a fair fight. I recalled the 2004 ALCS between the Red Sox and Yankees, and how I was chatting with my best Sox buddy right after the Yanks went up three games to zip in the series. "You know what," I said to him, as the marvelous premonition of what was about to happen swept over me. "I think we have them right where we want them."
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