The America’s Cup is a 162 year old sail boat racing event. Oracle’s Larry Ellison is defending champion after his team won in 2010.
Larry Ellison has gotten rid of the slow monohulls used in most prior Cups. Their top speed in the 2007 competition was about 20 mph. Ellison’s zippy boats can quickly pass one another like racehorses at over 50 mph.
Unlike monohulls, cats sail fast in light and strong winds, reducing start-time delays that can ruin TV broadcasts. Rather than have the vessels race miles offshore, Ellison’s team set the event in the natural amphitheater of San Francisco Bay on oval courses as close as 500 yards (460 meters) from land at some points so spectators can enjoy the race.
The Kiwis lost and then regained the lead to win the opening race by 36 seconds. They led the whole way in the second race to win by 52 seconds.
The Kiwis need seven more wins to claim the oldest trophy in international sports for the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron, which held the Auld Mug from 1995-2003.
Oracle Team USA must win 11 races to retain the Cup. An international jury docked Oracle two points in the biggest cheating scandal in the 162-year history of the America’s Cup.