Published: Sun, June 25, 2017
Medicine | By Daryl Nelson

Sailing-Winds of change for America's Cup in Bermuda Triangle

Sailing-Winds of change for America's Cup in Bermuda Triangle

He might soon be an America's Cup champion if the Kiwis' astoundingly fast design package, of which the cycling system is just one component, whisks them to victory against two-time defending champion Oracle Team USA.

The chief executive the America's Cup Event Authority, Oracle's event management organisation, has written in the local paper that while there were no guarantees, the best chance for Bermuda to stage the next cup would be though a win by Oracle Team USA.

Team New Zealand gained during a wind shift on leg four of the sixth race and passed Oracle. But Spithill has insisted he doesn't believe the "cyclors" make much difference in providing sufficient power to the hydraulics system at key moments, even though it's reckoned the legs can generate some 30 percent more power than the arms. "They've obviously got speed and they've had a little edge in a lot of the maneuvers".

That could all change if the US holders are able to turn around a 3-0 Kiwi lead in the first-to-seven competition on Bermuda's Great Sound when racing resumes this weekend.

Oracle skipper Jimmy Spithill said his crew had to make some "serious changes".

The team led by Oracle boss Larry Ellison signed up to a "framework agreement" with four of the other challengers this year which would mean the cup being held every two years in foiling catamarans as in Bermuda and a series of match races along the lines of Formula One around the world.

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

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Team New Zealand during racing on day three of the America's Cup. "I just put the bows in and gave it a good send".

But Oracle is still making mistakes, which Spithill acknowledged. They revealed this week that TNZ's boat was considerably lighter than Oracle, due to carbon-fibre technology developed in-house, as were the crew overall.

And it was Spithill, not the unflappable Burling, who blinked first, incurring a penalty when he crossed the startline early in the opening race to hand New Zealand the advantage.

However, just as they had taken the lead, Oracle Team USA were punished once again as the boats crossed for a second time on leg 3/7. Spithill dipped underneath. Both boats pushed the protest button, and the umpires decided Spithill didn't give Burling enough room. When the cats reach a certain speed, they rise up on the leeward daggerboard and rudders, with the hulls completely out of the water.

The actual sailing is done by helmsman Peter Burling, 26, an Olympic gold and silver medalist; skipper Glenn Ashby, 39, an Olympic silver medalist who controls the wingsail with an Xbox-like device; and Blair Tuke, 27, Burling's Olympic teammate who has a dual role of cyclor and foil trimmer.

Races 7 and 8 are scheduled for Sunday.

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