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Oracle Sweeps OneWorld 4 to -1

OneWorld Loses Lead, Series on Day 4

December 22, 2002
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Grand Prix Sailor is a 13-year-old racing news publication of Sailing World Magazine (http://www.sailingworld.com). This AMERICA’S CUP EDITION is a weekly summary of Cup action, brought to you this week by Harken and DuFour Yachts.

BOB FISHER’S REPORT FROM NEW ZEALAND

CHRISTMAS GOOSE
The white receptacle that hangs from the gantry at the aft end of Oracle-BMW’s USA-76 is known to many as “The Goose”, but just what this particular bird is stuffed with is the concern of her rival, OneWorld. The Seattle-based syndicate is concerned that it might contain electronic surveillance devices that home in on its telemetry.

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It is not only that OneWorld is concerned about losing confidential information from the on-board sensors of USA-67, but that the radiations might be the “fixing” point for radar performance mapping in real time that is instantly downloaded to the navigator’s computer on a competitor’s boat.

Maybe, things are more devious and that Oracle is downloading it opponents’ data ashore, even as far afield as Annapolis. The International Jury that was considering the facts presented to it, was working late into the night and hadn’t come up with a decision before it adjourned.

There is perhaps more in “The Goose” than simply a golden egg for Oracle-BMW Racing.

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REEVESGATE FINALLY CLOSED
Perhaps the last chapter of Reevesgate has been closed. Material was deposited with the New Zealand Herald that alleged that Oracle-BMW Racing had illegally acquired design information when it purchased the assets of AmericaOne, and this was strongly denied by the San Francisco team.

An AmericaOne executive, who investigated exactly what Larry Ellison’s team had purchased, agreed that they had purchased the design information, but on AmericaOne’s advice, did not take delivery of any of this Protocol sensitive material.

While OneWorld had asked for an investigation, its Executive Director, Bob Ratcliffe publicly stated last night, ’We are not pursuing the design question any further.’ He agreed his syndicate was happy with the explanations that they had received.

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NEW WATCH FOR SPITHILL
As OneWorld was making its final run for the starting line for the third race, with USA-67 on port tack, the time being given to James Spithill was clearly two seconds out of sync with that being called to the chief race officer on the committee boat. Unfortunately, the OneWorld time was ahead of the official time and Spithill drove hard for the line at full speed and was just one metre ahead of the gun. It would be an ideal opportunity for the official timer, Louis Vuitton Watches, to make a presentation to Spithill to avoid a further mistake. Of course, to maintain political correctness, a similar presentation would have to be made to Peter Holmberg, but he is a Tag Heuer personality, along with skipper, Chris Dickson.

There would be no real clash as both Louis Vuitton Watches and Tag Heuer are owned by the conglomerate, LVMH.

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ALL-KIWI AFFAIR
The New Zealand media is jumping on the bandwagon prospect of an all-Kiwi final of the Louis Vuitton Cup, and with it, an all-Kiwi America’s Cup. While the Blackheart brigade continues its smear campaign and black flags bearing the New Zealand icon of a fern leaf and the word “LOYAL” on them abound, the media has seized on the opportunity of claiming Chris Dickson and Russell Coutts for their own. It seems as though the newspapers, radio and television stations are trying to prepare the population of New Zealand for losing the Cup in February.

Maybe with an economic expose expected about Team New Zealand in the very near future, this is essential to the country’s morale.-Bob Fisher

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ORACLE ADVANCES TO SEMIS
For a while during Monday’s race it looked as if OneWorld would be able to stave off the inevitable for at least one more day by winning a race against Oracle; what would have been their first win in the Semifinal Repechage. But the fickle breezes of the Hauraki Gulf, and a horrifically unlucky tactical call at the beginning of the second downwind leg spelled the end for the beleaguered Seattle team.

OneWorld won the start and by the weather mark had a 59-second lead over Oracle. Oracle fought back on the downwind leg and halved OneWorld’s lead by the leeward mark. OneWorld gained back some lost ground on the second weather leg and then chose to do a jibe-set at the weather mark, making what appeared to be the sensible move in response to a big windshift. Oracle did a conventional bear away set, and to the amazement of a million armchair sailors, and the crew of OneWorld, Chris Dickson and team were blessed by the wind gods and saw more pressure on their side of the course, which allowed them to sail deeper and faster than OneWorld. Oracle led OneWorld around the final leeward mark by 38 seconds, and covered every move their opponent made until they crossed the finish line 1m:4s ahead.

Oracle will now face Alinghi in the Louis Vuitton finals beginning Jan. 11. The Finals will be a best-of-nine series to determine which team will meet the America’s Cup defenders Team New Zealand on Feb. 15.

Grand Prix Sailor and Grand Prix Sailor–America’s Cup Edition are weekly newsletters compiled by the editors of Sailing World magazine. If you’d like to subscribe, see http://www.sailingworld.com Contributing Editors: Tony Bessinger ([email protected]), Dave Reed ([email protected]), Stuart Streuli ([email protected]), John Burnham ([email protected])

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