If the 2013 America's Cup seemed like "The Empire Strikes Back," 2017 gave us "Return of the Kiwis." Peter Burling's Luke Skywalker vanquished Larry Ellison's Darth Vader by racking up eight race wins while Oracle could manage only one. Jimmy Spithill and the Oracle crew seemed to succumb to Jedi mind tricks, losing seven of the nine starts, going OCS in two races, sailing out of bounds once, misjudging laylines both upwind and down and falling off their foils in several tacks and gybes.
The Match started out badly for Oracle when they were over the start line early in the first race.
The following Saturday, Oracle was again OCS, in Race 5.
The Kiwis won the first five races. Oracle got their only win in the second race on Saturday 24 June.
On Sunday, in Race 7 Oracle had good speed to weather of the Kiwis, but after an inexplicable turn upwind by Spithill, they crossed the line over a boat length behind and slower than the Kiwis.
In the pre-start of Race 8 New Zealand's Peter Burling manage "to hook" Jimmy Spithill and force Oracle almost head to wind. Burling's protest was green-flagged by the umpires, but Burling was able to speed off to lead at Mark 1.
Speed and Boat Handling
The Kiwis closed out the Match in Race 9 with a demonstration of the boat speed and good handling that had brought them to match point. Oracle managed to win the start and led at Mark 1. The first gybe on leg 2 spelled the end for Oracle. New Zealand's gybe was crisper and they edged ahead, gassing Oracle with turbulence off their wing. They extended their lead and were never threatened, speeding to win the race and claim the America's Cup.