SAIL TOWARD THE EXPECTED SHIFT. This morning, my perusal of the on-TV program guide alerted me to something called Versus TV which was covering, of all things, the America's Cup racing. The defender is supposedly a Swiss team, racing in Spanish waters, with an English-speaking afterguard. The challenger is a New Zealand team sponsored by a Gulf States air carrier. Some things, however, big money and racing-rules fiddles cannot change. Case in point: the leading boat still must cover properly, and it must handle the elements correctly. The Swiss boat was leading the race the second time down, although it gave the New Zealand boat an opportunity to split tacks at the leeward gate. The New Zealanders identified stronger winds to the left, sailed toward it, then tacked on the knock. The Swiss, still leading, opted to tack under New Zealand in order to lee-bow them and force some time-losing additional tacks. There's a relatively simple counter to this, which is for the port tack boat to lay off and foot. Once the starboard tacker commits to the lee-bow, port hardens up, thereby overcoming the lee-bow effect, and holding the inside of the shift as well. It's rare for the leading boat to allow such a pass to take place in competition at that level.

There's a well-illustrated weblog covering the races, although it doesn't appear to be live-blogging. (Is such technology available offshore? Years ago, I took a small laptop to sea for the final race of the 1992 defense, and made notes as the race progressed, but these had to be uploaded to a discussion list later on.)

Races 3 and 4, television coverage begins at 7.30 am Central on Tuesday and Wednesday.

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