no excuses

This America’s Cup match will break one of these teams. Dramatic? Well, let’s start with the Kiwis. There are still ghosts in the shed from the 2013 last race loss to Oracle. Yes the team has evolved, but the logos, uniform and many of the faces are still the same, with that loss part of the teams DNA, driving them forwards on a daily basis. At the head is Grant Dalton, a man who has never won the America’s Cup, and if the Kiwis lose this, how can the team rebuild? Long term it will – New Zealanders are brilliant sportsmen and women and highly resilient at punching above their weight, but lose now and sponsors and supporters will be looking for fresh initiatives from the top.
Should Australian skipper Glenn Ashby (who coached Jimmy Spithill at BMW Oracle in 2010) and NZ helm Peter Burling and crew win, with their brilliant use of grinding leg muscle (plus every other ounce of technology crammed into that boat) Dalton will get his Knighthood, and the World of the Cup will tilt back to the land of the long white cloud – where memories are also long, on who was with them – and who was against them…
For Oracle Team USA, this should be their time to shine. They have an unlimited run of training, preparation and resources since they retained the Cup in San Fransisco, and have gigantic computing power on their side, with foil, aero and hydro talent in deep ranks. Australian skipper Jimmy Spithill is unquestionably as tough as teak, but he does have flaws. Not winning any World Series event rankled, plus Tom Slingsby’s poor showing at the Toulon event was a shock to the team. I saw that up close.
Early on in this cycle Spithill was publicly gunning for Grant Daltons replacement, not a very dignified approach and his Oracle team mates asked he tone down that line as it could have backfired badly, and so is Spithill capable of making errors? Of course he is – but they will be very fine ones, and it will take every ounce of the ice in Burling’s veins to unsettle Spithill in a dial up or boundary approach.
But if he manages this and Oracle lose this series – with every investment they have made, as Dennis Conner said there is no excuse to lose. Remember what happened to Chris Dickson when he lost at Oracle? Fascinating times…
Blue Robinson.