Page 5 of 5
New Zealand's lead dwindles. From 157 meters it's reduced to 60, then, 45, then a mere 28 meters. This comes even as the Kiwis blast upwind at a ludicrous 32 knots. The lead drops to 15 meters, and everyone starts drinking.
One day prior, in what may yet emerge as the hallmark image of this Cup, New Zealand's yacht nearly capsized, tottering awkwardly on one hull for a full 10 seconds before righting. On a catamaran, any hull angle past 45 degrees will likely ensure a wipeout. The technician aboard the hospitality boat says his equipment measured Team New Zealand's angle at 44.8 degrees.
That's how close the Kiwis came to wrecking their boat and pissing away the Cup right then and there. It's the little things that add up in the end.
The Kiwis will certainly be thinking about large numbers of little things for many years to come.
But not on this day. They pull out of a dead heat with Oracle and extend their lead to 100 meters. Then 190. Then 330.
And then they win.
There is jubilation on this vessel. A venture capitalist who, not long before, had been bragging about how "we've got the Chinese interested" in some big-shot deal dances a jig like a happy little boy.
Rougher seas were in store.
But not on this day. And, in order to foresee that, well, you'd have to be an oracle.
The Emirates Team New Zealand yacht cuts along the waterfront for a victory lap. It passes in front of the sun and, in silhouette, the city's skyline briefly appears to be graced with one more tower. But this tower moves on.
And, regardless of the victor, so may the America's Cup.