Published: Mon, June 26, 2017
Medicine | By Daryl Nelson

Yachting: New Zealand make fast start in America's Cup final

Yachting: New Zealand make fast start in America's Cup final

But the Kiwis later came off their foils during a hard maneuver and slowed dramatically in light, shifty wind, losing half their lead.

Before sitting out the challenger semi-finals and final, they topped the round-robin qualifying standings to earn a valuable bonus point that they take into the America's Cup proper.

Oracle had entered the series with a one-point advantage from an earlier regatta so New Zealand wiped out that advantage after winning the first race. Oracle needs to win seven to keep the silver trophy in the hands of American software billionaire Larry Ellison.

Peter Burling and crew are expected to be back out on the water tomorrow fine tuning their boat handling and systems ahead of the resumption of racing on Sunday.

But Emirates Team New Zealand was able to live with Oracle Team USA, and after both boats flew to mark 1 nearly level the Kiwi yacht found a click more pace to take the lead.

"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.

"Clearly, we need to now put everything back on the table".

"I think we saw just how a couple of times these guys built a healthy lead, and in the blink of an eye it's back on again", Spithill said.

Oracle does have history on its side.

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Team New Zealand admit they couldn't have asked for a better start to the America's Cup final after opening up a 3-0 lead on defenders Team USA.

"I think it's pretty obvious these guys are faster and we need to make some serious changes", a glum-looking Team USA captain James Spithill said. Coutts successfully defended the America's Cup in 2000 before jumping to Swiss startup syndicate Alinghi of Switzerland and sweeping his former team in 2003.

ORACLE TEAM USA have implemented a "cyclor-lite" system with Tom Slingsby sometimes seen cycling downwind whilst calling tactics, but this is very much an afterthought addition.

After all, the 2013 America's Cup proved that no lead is safe. The team is hungry and a very, very competitive group.

"Today was a really good day for us and we feel like we improved a lot on yesterday", Burling told a news conference. "We basically handed that first race to them".

"We had a little issue on board during the first start", said Spithill.

Let's end with an old cup saying: "The America's Cup has already been won, we just don't know who it is yet". Both teams have modified their boats and the two light wind duels showed the Kiwis' pace. The American-backed crew benefited from a wind shift sailing upwind on leg five in the second race and made up a huge deficit, pulling right behind the Kiwis sailing through the gate mark. Olympic rowing champion Joe Sullivan replaced him for Race 4.

As for Oracles foil selection, “I thought we made a good step forward, ” Spithill said.

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