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Team Oracle 2013 America's Cup win would surpass Australia II in 1983, says Syd Fisher

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Can an Australian lead USA to victory?

Australian America's Cup skipper for Oracle Team USA James Spithill has pulled the team back and it's now neck-and-neck against New Zealand.

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If Australian James Spithill and his crew on the America's Cup defender, Oracle Team USA, win tomorrow's decider on San Francisco Bay after tying the series this morning (AEST), their comeback would better that of Australia II in their historic win in 1983.

That was the view on Wednesday of veteran Australian sailing campaigner Syd Fisher.

Crew members of Oracle Team USA react after defeating Emirates Team New Zealand during Race 18. Click for more photos

Amazing US rally levels America's Cup

Oracle Team USA sailed to an unprecedented seventh consecutive America's Cup victory on Tuesday, extending an epic comeback to pull level with Emirates Team New Zealand at eight triumphs each. Photo: Reuters

It was Fisher, 86, who gave fellow Sydneysider Spithill, now aged 34, his first break in the America's Cup when he appointed Spithill, who was then aged 20, as the youngest ever helmsman for an America's Cup on Young Australia for his 2000 campaign.

Fisher, a veteran of five America's Cups (1983, 1987, 1992, 1995 and 2000), has been as surprised as anyone by how Oracle Team USA have clawed their way back from the brink of losing the Auld Mug when 8-1 down to draw level at 8-8 with Team New Zealand. More remarkable, to do so Oracle Team USA have had to win 10 races after starting at minus two points as a penalty for an infraction in the 2012 lead-up series.

Fisher said a victory by Oracle Team USA in the 19th and deciding race scheduled for Thursday morning (AEST) would surpass the feat of Australia II in 1983 when - on the very same day 30 years ago, September 26, 1983 – the Australians fought back from being 3-1 down to beat American Dennis Connors' Liberty 4-3 in the seven race series and become the first non-American Cup winners in its then 132 years existence.

On the cusp of victory: Team Oracle USA during Race 11 of the 34th America's Cup yacht sailing race in San Francisco.

On the cusp of victory: Team Oracle USA during Race 11 of the 34th America's Cup yacht sailing race in San Francisco. Photo: Reuters

"That's a comeback, isn't it?" Fisher told Fairfax Media on Wednesday morning after Oracle Team USA won the 17th and 18th races to take the Cup to its one-off decider.

"Spithill and the boys have got the boat moving This is really a comeback ...

"[Winning the America's Cup now] would beat the 1983 comeback, after coming back from the deficit they had. It was unimaginable actually, that they could do it."

With so much now at stake after the emotional and physical toil of having won the last seven races to draw level, how does Fisher believe Spithill will prepare his crew?

Fisher, who says one of Spithill qualities is that he is "cool and has a lot of common sense", will know they can't bank on their momentum of success getting them home.

Momentum is on the side of Oracle Team USA that has forced the Dean Barker skippered Team New Zealand crew to sit agonisingly on match point for one week.

But come the final race, says Fisher, all that will matter is performance on the day.

"You just have to tell the crew to take one thing at a time," Fisher said.

"You might be having a bit of trouble, but you have to deal with each thing as they come up. What I think he will do is get the crew to realise, 'This is a race. This is the one we have got to win. We won't worry about the past, and we won't worry about the future. We have to win this race, the one that we are in right now."

Twitter: @rupertguinness

 

25 comments

  • Shame no one cares about these made for purpose racing Catamarans that cost $50m and raced by totally foreign crews only interested in massive pay days, as opposed to the glory of winning it for your country.

    Regardless of tomorrow's result, the winner will probably be determined in a court of law again.

    I'm prouder that Australia doesn't contest this waste of money event any more than when we won it.

    What a farce this once great regatta has become.

    Commenter
    Chieftain
    Date and time
    September 25, 2013, 12:27PM
    • one big farce

      Commenter
      ladydi
      Date and time
      September 25, 2013, 1:20PM
    • Sorry I have to disagree. While I am normally a monohull person and had doubts about the match racing ability of them. However these are awesome boats, there has been more lead swaps than ever before, still match racing and the pinicale of sailing both technology wise and racing wise. At the couple of sailing clubs I regular there has been more interest in this cup that the last 12 or so years! and we are in the world of professional sports now, why should sailors miss out on what other top sporting people can get.

      However I do agree that the cost is limiting countries and would love to see a nationality rule, eg at least 50% of the crew have to be from the country the boat is representing

      Commenter
      Pete
      Date and time
      September 25, 2013, 1:25PM
    • You're wrong about two things, firstly the boats/campaigns cost more like $300 million and second people do actually care, same way people care who wins the Tour de France and other minority sports. We can't all be interested in the biff sports like league.

      Commenter
      davidsyd
      Date and time
      September 25, 2013, 3:11PM
    • @Davidsyd

      Sorry - you were correct the boats do actually cost upwards of $200m. I'm 4 x times more disgusted and disillusioned than when posting my earlier comments.

      But you're still wrong on the count that anyone (outside of a marina) cares.

      Commenter
      Chieftain
      Date and time
      September 25, 2013, 5:58PM
  • I'm torn as to who to support - obviously we've got some Aussies on the Yankie boat so that would suggest I support Oracle, but having the America's Cup across the ditch would be worth a trip to watch those big boats fly.

    Commenter
    Mikka
    Date and time
    September 25, 2013, 12:31PM
    • Please don't let the Yanks win, Kiwis! They will be even more insufferable. And please don't do a Greg Norman on us!
      Apart from the dreadful prospect of a US victory (with foreign crew), what an amazing series. Close-up high speed racing, with great camera work, course diagrams, instant boat performance, etc. The course at San Francisco is perfect for the Cup. I don't think the Kiwis would be able to match what has been offered here in the unlikely event of them winning.

      Commenter
      Captain Bligh
      Location
      Brisbane
      Date and time
      September 25, 2013, 12:43PM
      • Seriously?... you'd take a quote from a bloke who has overseen THE most spectacular Americas Cup failures on what constitutes a comeback?

        Commenter
        Peter Van Oarsomethink
        Location
        Dutch Test Tank
        Date and time
        September 25, 2013, 1:16PM
        • only because there cheating by putting all these extras on boat,

          Commenter
          ladydi
          Date and time
          September 25, 2013, 1:19PM
          • What additions are you talking about exactly? And did you know that both teams have been remeasured throughout the series (7 times ETNZ, 15 times OTUSA I think?) to prove they're still within the AC72 class rules?

            Commenter
            frank
            Date and time
            September 25, 2013, 2:26PM

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