New Zealand sitting pretty in Bermuda

New Zealand sitting pretty in Bermuda

Peter Burling and Emirates Team New Zealand are threatening to sail – and cycle – away with the America’s Cup.The Kiwis’ 50-foot catamaran rose onto its hydrofoils and sped across the turquoise waters of the Great Sound but the Kiwis came off their foils during a hard maneuver and slowed dramatically in light, shifty wind, losing half their lead before holding on for victory.Burling, the 26-year-old whose pre-start prowess was called into question during challenger qualifying, won the start of the second race and New Zealand steadily built their lead. While Team NZ have recorded four wins over the weekend, they entered the Cup match on -1 due to a new format quirk.Steady as she goes for Emirates Team New Zealand with two more wins over Oracle Team USA putting them 3-0 up in the first to seven series. Asked if that meant Team USA might borrow some ideas from New Zealand, Spithill didn’t balk.Spithill is no stranger to adversity as he and his team made one of the biggest-ever comebacks in sporting history when they rallied from 8-1 down against New Zealand to win the “Auld Mug” in San Francisco in 2013 when the victor was the first to nine.So far, the Kiwis and their cycling grinding system have proven too fast for Oracle in light, shifty wind. Oracle won a bonus point for winning the qualifiers, but it was actually a negative point for the Kiwis.He’s already going strong as he attempts to win a third straight America’s Cup with Oracle Team USA, the powerhouse squad owned by software billionaire Larry Ellison.With the racing being held on the weekends in Bermuda, there is now five-days before race five and six.Well-funded Oracle Team USA has five days to try to come with some answers to counter the spot-on design innovations by the scrappy Kiwis, who are getting by with much less funding.”We’ve still got plenty of things to work on the boat over the next few days, so it gives us the opportunity to keep developing as well”. “Today I thought we got off the line pretty well, but they were pretty impressive accelerating”.Two weeks ago, even before Team New Zealand had clinched a spot in the final, Spithill said at a news conference that the Kiwis made fundamental mistakes in losing two races in the round robins to Oracle.Oracle does have history on its side.Sir Ben Ainslie showed that the Kiwis can be caught out, as demonstrated with the big pitch-pole in high winds after Land Rover BAR forced Emirates Team New Zealand high in the pre-start.Coutts has been the CEO of Oracle Team USA since it beat Alinghi in 2010.After all, the 2013 America’s Cup proved that no lead is safe. “The team’s hungry. They’re a very, very competitive group”. Clearly we need to now put everything back on the table.”We’ve got a couple of good starts, the boat’s going really fast and the boys are doing a good job to get it around the racetrack nice and smoothly”, said Kiwi helmsman Peter Burling. “We know if we stand still these guys will be catching us”.The Aussie said the crew needed to up its game for the next races. He has won Olympic gold and silver medals with grinder Blair Tuke.


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