Four straight wins put Kiwis in charge of America’s Cup
They must find a solution to the superior upwind speed of Team NZ’s catamaran and devise a way to rattle Burling, who has been flawless with his starts and decision-making so far, nullifying the threat of aggressive match-racing ability of Team USA’s Australian skipper Jimmy Spithill.
That break, and Oracle’s ability to keep innovating proved the impetus behind the U.S. team’s stunning comeback. In the second contest, the victor would earn a one point advantage heading into the America’s Cup Match. The 35th AmericasCup Match presented by #LouisVuitton in Bermuda is now underway.
(AP Photo/Gregory Bull). Emirates Team New Zealand helmsman Peter Burling gestures on his way towards a sailing training session Friday, June 16, 2017, in Hamilton, Bermuda.
“We’re happy to take those four wins because it is no secret that we are here to win the America’s Cup“.
What to watch next: Can Oracle bounce back? Team USA bounced back from an 8-1 deficit in 2013 against the Kiwis to win 9-8 in the sport’s most captivating episode yet.
Bendigo’s Glenn Ashby and Team New Zealand made a stunning start to the America’s Cup finals series against Team USA.
Spithill is a fierce competitor off the water as well as on it.
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 America’s Cup for the first time.
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. “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.
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.
As much as Oracle simply sailed its catamaran better as the comeback progressed, there was a defining moment at a news conference.
But asked point blank if Team USA have a second boat, Spithill would neither confirm nor deny.
“I think it’s pretty obvious these guys are faster and we need to make some serious changes”, a glum-looking Spithill said. “What an upset that would be”.
“We’re a very candid group”, he said. So that’s my motivation. “When I look around me and look at my teammates, I have a lot of confidence. Sometimes you learn the most when you look across the fence at your competitors and I’ve always found that when you go up against the best that’s typically what brings the best out in you”.
“The easterly is a tricky direction”, Spithill said. That’s his style and that’s his natural bent.
Meanwhile, here is New Zealand cyclor Simon Van Velthooven, who won a bronze medal in the Men’s Keirin at London 2012, to explain why light winds equal hard grind for the boat’s muscle men.