Emirates Team New Zealand hold early advantage in Americas Cup

Jimmy Spithill, Skipper and Helmsman for Oracle Team USA, center, reacts after losing both races to Emirates Team New Zealand during Americas Cup match sailing competition Saturday, June 17, 2017, in Hamilton, Bermuda.

The America's Cup has jumped fully into the 21st century, from the space-age catamarans that lift up on hydrofoils and fly across the waves to the use of social media for some smack talk between sailors in the days before two-time defending champion Oracle Team USA and challenger Emirates Team New Zealand meet in the 35th America's Cup starting Saturday on the Great Sound.

However, in similar scenes to day one's two races, a small mistake was to prove pivotal as a poor jibe by Oracle Team USA saw the American boat make a small splashdown into the water, resulting in a loss of momentum that they were then unable to claw back.

New Zealand's boat speed was again superior in race four, with Jimmy Spithill's American crew essentially left to wait for a mistake that never came.

While no one knows who will win the America's Cup - the dynamics in play now are very different from 2013.

There's now a five day gap before racing resumes and Oracle plan to make the majority.

“Its incredible how many people have been getting up at five in the morning in New Zealand to watch us.

The always-crafty Kiwis are using a "cyclor" grinding system.

"Day one is massive, it's the most important day, if someone comes out with a speed advantage, psychologically that's huge for the rest of the series", said Ben Ainslie, skipper of Land Rover BAR at a morning briefing. During tacks and gybes, the cyclists unclip, run across the trampoline to the other hull and clip back in, powering the hydraulic systems that control the wingsail and raise and lower the daggerboards.

Team New Zealand needs four wins, Oracle TeamUSA seven.

Spithill, an Australian, is trying to win his third straight America's Cup before he turns 38.

Bertrand believes Burling is tough because of his dominance in winning the Olympic gold medal in the 49er class at Rio de Janeiro last summer with Blair Tuke, a Team New Zealand grinder.

"I think what happened is that we lost a rudder", revealed Spithill, reflecting on the manoeuvre that all but ended their challenge.

Races 3 and 4 are scheduled Sunday. "This is not going to be anything less that a huge battle we are expecting".

"The up-side, for us, is there's a lot of technology out there now", Spithill said. But we know that.

Oracle made an unforced error when its catamaran came off its foils early on the downwind second leg of Race 3.

With the cyclors working overtime to produce more oil pressure the kiwi's were able to pull off a series of manouevres which allowed them to hold its slender lead.

  • Zachary Reyes