America's Cup: Cumming hails attractive competition in San Francisco
Last Updated: 16/09/13 3:42pm
Emirates Team New Zealand moved within two points of sealing the America's cup on Sunday when they moved to a 7-1 lead over Oracle Team USA.
Starting the day at 6-0 down, the American-based team fought hard to register their first point on Sunday - having had two points deducted for illegal modifications - but Emirates came from behind to take the second, leaving honours even for the day.
Races nine and 10 were always going to be make or break for the Oracle team but conditions could not have been better for them in San Francisco bay, breezy and choppy.
After winning the only race on Saturday, Oracle recorded back-to-back wins for the first time when they raced to a 47-second victory in race nine and Sky Sports sailing expert Pete Cumming hailed the desire the American side displayed.
"They really came out to finish the job they started in race eight," Cumming told Sky Sports. "They came out aggressively and wanted to stamp their authority again and make the most of these conditions.
"Every race they seem to have the boat absolutely motoring, they know to start well is the key and they did a really great job.
"It is such a good advert for this form of sailing, a 20 minute race and there is a one second split between the first and second boat."
"They did a really nice job of blocking the Emirates boat out, getting them on the non-course side of the start line. Just slowing the game right down and picking the angle to get to the first mark, slowing the Emirates down and then pulling the trigger to accelerate away, doing a real nice job.
"We're seeing how well they're sailing now; they are just not giving away the lead anymore."
Despite reasserting their authority in the first race of the day, race 10 resulted in very different fortunes as an error on the fourth leg allowed the Emirates team to take control.
"The Emirates sent a really strong message to the Americans that they are not going to be knocked around the racecourse in the second race though," Cumming added.
"It was a massive physiological blow to the Oracle boat by not sealing that second race; we saw three lead changes in a matter of minutes on the final upwind leg.
"Both boats were evenly matched and the boat handling is very, very good. Three course changes saw Oracle just get that start board advantage at the top as they split into the Winwood Gate."
Defeat for Oracle means Emirates sit on the cusp of America's Cup glory but Cumming believes the contest between the two is benefitting the popularity of the sport.
"It is such a good advert for this form of sailing, a 20-minute race and there is a one second split between the first and second boat," he said.
"There have been more lead changes than ever before in the 162 year history of the America's Cup and we're seeing the fastest boats and the most technically difficult boats to sail. It is a real credit to the sailing team how well they are sailing in these boats."
Sunday's events mean Emirates Team New Zealand are now within two points of victory, meaning they could potentially seal the America's Cup when we return to action on Tuesday, with Monday being a rest day.