In Newport, Rhode Island, the American yacht Courageous took a commanding 2-0 lead on Friday (16 September) in the final best of seven series for the America's Cup after defeating the Australian challenger Australia in a re-sail by 63 seconds.
In Newport, Rhode Island, the American yacht Courageous took a commanding 2-0 lead on Friday (16 September) in the final best of seven series for the America's Cup after defeating the Australian challenger Australia in a re-sail by 63 seconds. The race was re-sailed after Courageous failed on Thursday (15 September) to beat the time limit because of light winds.
SYNOPSIS: The initial race started with the Courageous skippered by Ted Turner slowly tacking past Australia to gain the lead. It was a lead the Courageous was to hold until the race was abandoned.
In an effort to get maximum use of the light and unstable breezes, the Australian captain, Noel Robins ordered up his new jib. The Australia then seemed to have virtually closed the gap on a tack.
But any hopes the Australia might have had in evening the series at one apiece was dashed by the fifth leg. Courageous took an unassailable lead with a superior spinnaker run. By the time the Australia put out her spinnaker it was already too late.
Through most of the race, Courageous was able to coax the maximum from the little wind there was by some smart jibbing. But suddenly, a mile from the finish, the wind gave way to doldrums.
The opposition for the Courageous was no longer the Australia, but the clock. To claim the victory, the American defender had to finish the course within five hours and thirty minutes. For spectators, suspense began to creep back, and many took bets on whether the Courageous would make it.
With a half a mile to go, Courageous had just ten minutes left. For the Australia crew it was an agonising matter of sit and wait.
Turner needed more tacks or a freshening breeze if he was to claim victory. But Courageous fell short and the race was called off. Had the Americans been able to find a bit more wind, they could have won by as much as ten or fifteen minutes. Instead the Courageous crew had to satisfy itself with a victory in the more closely fought re-sail on Friday.