Thursday, 22 June, 2017

Kiwis beat Oracle in 1st 2 America's Cup races in Bermuda

Hamilton Bermuda. Emirates Team New Zealand faces Oracle Team USA in the America's Cup sailing match starting June 17 Kiwis beat Oracle in America's Cup opener in Bermuda
Melinda Barton | 20 June, 2017, 02:39

Heading into the start of the first race Emirates Team New Zealand knew that Oracle had altered their boat to make it quicker.

While the Kiwis have shown a clear speed advantage in the light winds, which are expected to continue in Bermuda this weekend, Oracle skipper Jimmy Spithill remains confident they can bounce back.

Oracle skipper Jimmy Spithill has admitted Team New Zealand has the faster boat, but insists his team will be doing everything in their power to try to regain some parity after a one-sided two days of racing in the America's Cup match.

"Yes, I'm hoping for an Oracle win, it's just my point of view for Team France".

"This team has been here before". We've got to get faster, it's pretty obvious.

Blair Tuke, a crewman on Emirates Team New Zealand, responded with a cartoon of a gassed-looking bald eagle failing to keep up with a trim kiwi speeding away on a bicycle.

"Clearly we weren't sailing at our best".

However, a six-day break until race five and six on Sunday (NZT) will allow Team USA to make changes to a defence which is teetering.

"You see in Peter Burling that he's much more laid back".

"We've got a massive list of things we want to work on and improve on", the Team NZ helmsman said. We also learned, or confirmed, the kiwi team is insane fast in the 8 knot winds seen today.

"The up-side, for us, is there's a lot of technology out there now", Spithill said.

Emirates Team New Zealand ramped up the pressure on defending champions Oracle Team USA with their fourth successive win in the America's Cup final to go 3-0 up after the second day of racing on Sunday.

And then, saying he had a "leak" in the Kiwi camp, Spithill upstaged Burling when he said the Kiwis would pick Britain as their challenger semifinal opponent.

Their Australian skipper Jimmy Spithill reverenced the remarkable fightback to beat Team NZ 9-8 in the Cup Match San Francisco four years ago, reminding the Kiwis to take nothing for granted.

"I was just kind of taking it easy", Burling said of his approach to the pre-Cup press conference.

On the opposite side of the ledger, Team NZ helmsman Peter Burling was satisfied with the clinical performance of his own crew, but stressed there would be complacency as they enter the lay-day period. Oracle needs to win seven races.

But the light winds also made for very tricky conditions which produced a heart-stopping moment for the Kiwis when they ran out of breeze and sank off the foils with the finish in sight. That was enough for Burling to speed away around the seven-leg course.

In 2013 Oracle Team USA made use of some lay days to make crucial tweaks to their boat set-up and changed some personnel, bringing in legendary British Olympic sailor Sir Ben Ainslie as tactician.