Originally Posted by P.M.

From America’s Cup Hall of Famer, Mike Drummond – the former Team NZ navigator

"What will the defender achieve from racing with the challengers

Fraternizing with the enemy is no longer a sin in the America’s Cup. Controversially including the defender in the challenger fray - for the first time in 166 years - will definitely benefit Oracle.

First and foremost, they will have gleaned plenty of knowledge of the challengers, and learned much about how their own boat races, before they take a vital two weeks off to perfect “17” for the Cup proper.

But they also want the one point that’s up for grabs, which translates into the first win in the America’s Cup match. Should it be a challenger who tops the qualifier series ending on Sunday, they will have to proceed to the Cup match to make the point count.

The next few days are important for Oracle. They will want to deny Team NZ that prized point. “But it’s just as important for them to learn as much as they can, from sailing against strong opposition.”

Oracle are no mugs – and they have sharp memories of the last Cup where they never stopped developing and improving."

Cup Hall of Famer answers the big questions

It's hard to disagree with the points he brings up. Added to which, I believe I saw where Oracle was running to different port and starboard daggerboard foils on either side of their boat two days ago presumably to test which ones performed better in the same conditions. Their risk/reward formula is a lot different than the other teams in this round robin series.

I'm still not totally against the defender getting to partake in the round robin but it's hard for me not to have a tinge of bias. Besides my obvious regional bias, this defender has had the vision and insistence to beat back a lot of opposition to the entire idea of multihulls in the America's Cup and has brought us these incredible boats.

Lastly, I suspect that most teams have kept some developmental things out of sight and off the water. This isn't just a day to day race on the water. Also key is the pace to your development because development WILL happen as the race progresses. You need to peak with that development at the right time in order to win the cup. Peak too early, as New Zealand did in the last iteration, and your competition has a chance to discover, develop, and catch you. Peak too late, and well, it's over before it starts. Rest assured, these boats will continue to get faster and faster.

Jake Kohl