Kiwis lay down challenge in America's Cup

Frederick Owens
June 26, 2017

Oracle won a bonus point for winning the qualifiers, but it was actually a negative point for the Kiwis.

The break has come at an opportune time for Oracle Team USA, who have struggled to match the pace of the Kiwi boat, and find themselves down 3-0 on the scoreboard (Team NZ started the Cup match at -1).

However, there was to be no late drama, as Burling's team crossed the finish line 30 seconds ahead of Spithill's ORACLE TEAM USA, wiping out the minus one point deficit to the Defenders and levelling the overall scores to 0-0 ahead of race two.

Spithill's Oracle team now face an uphill battle to win the 35th edition of the competition, where the trophy is earned by the first team to reach seven points.

Racing will resume again next Saturday.

"The up-side, for us, is there's a lot of technology out there now", Spithill said. "Today I thought we got off the line pretty well, but they were pretty impressive accelerating".

"Clearly, now we need to put everything back on the table. It's not over. We've got five days now, very important days", Spithill said.

Oracle does have history on its side.

"We've been here before, it's not over", Jimmy Spithill, the Oracle skipper, said. Coutts successfully defended the Americas Cup in 2000 before jumping to Swiss startup syndicate Alinghi of Switzerland and sweeping his former team in 2003.

Coutts has been the CEO of Oracle Team USA since it beat Alinghi in 2010.

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Smack talk is hardly new in the America's Cup.

Skipper Jimmy Spithill, who is looking to win the America's Cup for the third time before he turns 38, started with an Instagram post of a cartoon of a bald eagle in an American flag motif digging its talons into a surprised kiwi bird, accompanied by the hashtag #battleofbermuda.

"We feel like were far from flawless today, and we've got a lot to improve on in the next few days".

"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've proved we can win races against these guys".

"I think it just shows you guys will fall for anything", the 37-year-old Spithill said, hinting it was all a ploy.

"Our team's really hungry to keep learning, keep moving forward, keep improving". Of course, unless there is a drastic last-minute rule change (this is the America's Cup so it can not be ruled out), we know Ainslie will not be coming to the rescue. They have also made the right choices on which foils to use on the ends of their daggerboards.

The kiwi on a bike is a reference to Team New Zealand's innovative grinding system in which it has replaced traditional coffee-grinder winches with stationary bikes to tap the grinders' leg power instead of arm power.

Race 4 was to follow. "I thought we were faster than yesterday but unfortunately it's just not enough". But we know that. "We're not going to hide from the truth". But its 50-foot catamaran came off its foils during a bad gybe and buried its bows in the water, allowing the Kiwis to speed back ahead and open a lead of about 300 yards.

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