10 July 2007

THIRD America's Cup commentary by Ricky of California

Dear ZEN’ers,
we have for you, somewhat after the fact, the second of a series of posts from a friend (if I may), a man I’ve corresponded with through our passion for Truth, and the Floyd Landis case of unproven Tour de France doping, which you can trace through these posts (one, two, three, more).

Ricky hails from the USA, and loves sailing as much as we both love cycling.
Ricky has permitted me to archive some posts, which he began providing to answer questions from some of us land-lubbers!

They are impressively well-written, I’ve slightly reformatted and edited them for precision. I believe this first post covers the third regatta.

Take it away, Ricky from California!:

No racing today. The wind gods picked up their ball and went home. So … I'll give you a BRIEF analysis of race five, in which the Kiwis tore a page out of Brad Butterworth's AC book.

Yesterday Ed Baird actually took it to the Kiwis at the start and had them pinned on the left side of the starting line but Deano managed to wriggle off the hook (speaking of wriggling off the hook, remind me to tell you about the big one that got away yesterday), and jibed in front of Alinghi and got away for a good start.

Here is where Terry stumbled. As the boats drag raced out to the starboard layline, the Kiwis had the full measure of the Swiss, but Terry forgot rule number one, and let the Swiss get some lateral separation and Brad pounced, snatching the lead after a tacking duel in a right shift just this side of the weather mark. This AC regatta will go down in history as the most competitve ever, with the winner of each race doing it by sailing smarter than the competition.

Remember what Dennis Conner says about yacht racing:
"He who makes the fewest mistakes wins."

So Alinghi rounds the top mark in front and keeps a tight cover on the Kiwis, sailing a good defensive race until Brad lets go again and allows the Kiwis, who were well behind, to jibe away and pick up a left shift and sail right up to Alinghi's transom. But wait, what the bloody...?

Terry jibes away!! Why?

Match racing aficionados across the world scream at their flat screens, "Nooo Terry, don't do it!! No, please don't....Ahh, he's gone and done it"

Hutchinson jibed away and left the Swiss to sail down the course and jibe in a puff and scamper on down to the finish line a hundred meters or so ahead of NZ.

Terry suffered a tactical breakdown with that jibe. Those of you who don't follow the game all that closely may ask why it was such a bad move to jibe away at that critical moment. The answer is that they were sailing down to the port layline, basically the edge of the world in match racing.

The Swiss couldn't go on much longer, they were going to have to jibe to lay the finish. All Terry had to do was stay right on their transom and jibe exactly when they did and they would have blanketed the Swiss boat's wind and accelerated ahead to a hero's welcome as the fanatical Kiwi fans blasted their horns and shouted themselves hoarse over the Kiwis spectacular come from behind win.

Of course that's not what happened. Why did Terry jibe?

Well, one can only speculate, but the only LOGICAL reason is that he noticed some big wind over on the left side of the course and wanted to sail over there and take advantage of it. Of course it was just a figment of his imagination. There was nothing over there and Terry tossed a fighting chance for a figment. Foo!

Terry suffered from the same mistake that generals, captains and leaders throughout history skewer themselves on. He let wishful thinking obscure reality.

He wanted to believe that there was more over there than there actually was instead of facing the fact that he was going to have to maneuver perfectly over the Swiss and fight to the death right there at the port layline. Still it was an exciting race in spite of the disappointing denouement.

(This is PART THREE, of FOUR America's Cup posts, featuring commentary by Ricky of California: click here for Part ONE, Part TWO, Part FOUR)

Thanks Ricky - Premier Guest Commentator at ZENcentral!

ç*”*”*”*ç*””* ZENmud *””*ç*”*”*””*ç

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