“Don’t call it a comeback. I been here for years.” – LL Cool J.
Comeback it will be called, and that isn’t wrong. The underlying story however really is that Oracle has been in the AC game for years, and with their virtually unlimited resources, were simply able to develop a faster boat throughout the series. And as we all know, a faster boat almost always wins. Of course, the dramatic way in which they did that and applied that to 8 straight wins was something never quite seen before, and certainly the feat cannot be minimized, but must be placed in the proper context.
As for the final race, ETNZ could not have been asked to sail a better race – great start, leads at both the turning mark and the leeward gate, they simply, in the words of commentator Kenny Read “Got boatspeeded to death.” Oracle’s upwind pace is now stuff of legend, once again just simply sailing away to turn a close race into a rout.
One has to feel for Dean Barker. A shot of him standing at the wheel after the race, alone, and emotionally devastated was a powerful image and a reminder of the heart that is put into this sport by so many dedicated sailors like him. Gutted to be sure, but with absolutely nothing to be ashamed of. You got beat by a faster boat, mate. End of story. But that doesn’t mean that there isn’t plenty to talk about.
Title inspiration thanks to LL Cool J.