It's grueling work. After grinding nonstop for 10 minutes, I have new respect for the strength of America's Cup crew members. Although we narrow the gap, as the finish line approaches it's obvious we won't catch our opponents. "We were out-tacking them, it was just a matter of [running out of] time," our first mate says.
With the race over, out come bottled water, soft drinks and beer. The ride back to the tender is relaxing and pleasant.
Still, I can't help thinking of an oft-told story from the first America's Cup challenge, in 1851. In that race, around the Isle of Wight, the upstart challenger America trounced a slew of Britain's finest sailing vessels. Queen Victoria was watching. She asked an attendant which boat had won and was told it was the U.S. vessel. The queen then asked which boat was second.
"Your Majesty, there is no second," came the reply.