US chasing New Zealand and America's Cup 'miracle'

Ross Houston
June 25, 2017

The U.S. victory in the second race of the day gives the team some hope of a comeback against New Zealand, who now lead the first-to-seven series in Bermuda by 4-1.

In Race 5, Spithill, an Australian, crossed the starting line a split second too soon and had to drop two lengths behind Team New Zealand.

It was penalized twice and had a costly maneuver in the first race, allowing the Kiwis to speed off to a victory of 2:04, the biggest in the match.

In the day's second race, however, Spithill seized the early advantage, beating the Kiwis to the first mark for the first time.

The US team, backed by tech billionaire Larry Ellison, erased an 8-1 deficit four years ago to stun New Zealand 9-8 in San Francisco. The US win means the racing will now go into today or beyond.

He crossed ahead on the third leg. Oracle did cut Team New Zealand's 35-second lead at the fifth gate mark to 12 seconds at the sixth gate mark. "And we look forward coming back tomorrow and making less mistakes and giving a polished performance".

Burling, the 26-year-old bidding to become the youngest winning helmsman of the America's Cup, was as cool in the press conference on Monday as he was on the wheel where he completely outgunned Oracle Cup veteran and double victor Jimmy Spithill.

"That was exactly what the boys needed", Spithill said.

However, the win also signifies that the clear advantage Emirates Team New Zealand had over their United States rivals in the opening weekend of the America's Cup Match, presented by Louis Vuitton has gone, and that means world-class, exciting racing is guaranteed in the remaining head-to-heads between the two teams fighting for the oldest trophy in global sport. "We felt we had a great race going with the Kiwis".

"We saw these guys take days off during the week and we made a commitment inside the team we would use every single one of them to make the boat faster". The American boat took the start and held on for the first three of seven legs, effectively maintaining control of the New Zealanders in classic match-racing form.

Team USA was clearly was faster yesterday but made mistakes, which Spithill acknowledged.

But although the New Zealanders got away, the USA champions recovered well and fought their way back into the race, finding the speed which had evaded them in previous encounters.

The final is a repeat of the last time the trophy was contested in 2013, when US came from 8-1 down to win 9-8.

"I was happy to see some fight out of these boys", Burling said, prompting the muttered response from Spithill: "It's only just beginning, mate".

Races 7 and 8 are scheduled for Sunday.

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