Facing one of the strongest challenges ever, Bill Koch won over the best in the sailing world by combining teamwork, talent, technology and ability to form a winning team with AMERICA3. Many of the experts predicted that the Italian challenger, IL MORO DI VENEZIA would beat AMERICA3 handily. Bill Koch felt otherwise and proved it by defeating IL MORO by a 4-1 margin. The one race that IL MORO won was by three seconds, the closest race in America’s Cup history.
Bill Koch maintains that winning the America’s Cup is 60 percent boat technology and 40 percent human skills. “Sailing is an art, but boat speed is a science,” he maintains.
His race philosophy is summed up by the following: “One person can’t win the race for you. But one person’s mistake can cause you to lose. That’s why I de-emphasized the individual and talent and concentrated on attitude when selecting the crew. Ordinary people doing things extraordinarily well as a team will beat – every time- a bunch of superstars with their accompanying egos.”
The team abandoned this concept during the trial series and nearly got eliminated by Dennis Conner. After getting out to 3-0 lead, AMERICA3 lost the next three races and ended up tied 4-4. Bill Koch reminded the crew of its promise to sacrifice personal goals for the good of the boat. AMERICA3 swept the next three races and carried this momentum into the Cup finals.
Her extra speed was the result of a program of ongoing refinements that continued right into the Cup finals. Tank testing, wind tunnel testing, and the development of a new sail material called Cubenfiber are the reasons why AMERICA3’s victory is seen as a triumph of American technology.