America's Cup: Oracle Team USA hunker down in the boatshed

Andrew Cummings
June 21, 2017

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.

The Kiwis started this series on minus-one point because they were the challengers, but four wins from the opening four races as them well-placed for victory.

During that round-robin, they beat New Zealand twice. "Jimmy (Spithill) and Oracle Team USA sailed really well to put us under a lot of pressure, but we managed to keep our composure and sail really well". "I think everybody showed out there our team's really hungry to keep learning, keep moving forward, keep improving", Burling, who won Olympic 49er gold in Rio a year ago, said. "We'll keep battling away and aim to get the remaining six wins needed as soon as possible".

This is a rematch of that epic regatta, when Team New Zealand, then skippered by Dean Barker, reached match point at 8-1 before Oracle Team USA won eight straight races on San Francisco Bay to retain the oldest trophy in global sports.

"I think these next five days will be the most important five days of the campaign", he said.

The return match between America's Cup defender Oracle Team USA and Emirates Team New Zealand promises another epic edition of Yachting's venerable, sometimes venomous competition.

"However, I've been here before, and it is still only a point!"

Then again, it could also be a repeat of 1995, when Team New Zealand, then led by skipper Russell Coutts and Peter Blake, sailed a fast boat to a five-race wipeout of Dennis Conner off San Diego to hoist the Americas Cup for the first time. "To do that you've got to win eight races".

Although, that is likely to stop at their pedal-powered hydraulic system, the most obvious difference between the boats, with Spithill adamant the "cyclors" were not the reason for New Zealand's success.

"Oracle is a multinational team and they're not wearing their heart on their sleeve perhaps as much as the Kiwis and when it gets to those key moments when its all on the line, who is going to be more motivated to win it?", Ainslie said. That was enough for Burling to speed away around the seven-leg course for a 49-second victory. Oracle TeamUSA still has the trophy at the Golden Gate Yacht Club.

That break will come as great relief for Oracle, for whom it is now clear Team NZ hold a massive speed advantage over.

Emirates Team New Zealand has the edge over Oracle Team USA after winning the first two races in the America's Cup.

Emirates Team New Zealand Skipper Glenn Ashby was quick to highlight they had plenty to improve and work on over the next 10 days if the team are to be ultimately successful.

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