Emirates Team New Zealand take early control against Oracle Team USA
- Author: Salvatore Jensen Jun 22, 2017,
Jun 22, 2017, 23:10
The sighting begged the question of whether the U.S. team were putting together a second boat or merely trying to rattle their rivals - who are out to expunge the memory of their spectacular collapse from an 8-1 lead in the title series in San Francisco four years ago.
The 26-year-old Burling calmly steered the Kiwis' fast 50-foot catamaran to two more dominating victories Sunday to remain undefeated in the showdown on the Great Sound.
They benefited from an error by skipper Jimmy Spithill of two-time defending champion Oracle Team USA on Saturday and then survived a dramatic slowdown.
Whats positive is we won the Qualifiers and weve taken race wins off team New Zealand.
Peter Burling and Emirates Team New Zealand are threatening to sail - and cycle - away with the America's Cup.
This is a rematch of the epic 2013 America's Cup, when Team New Zealand, then skippered by Dean Barker, reached match point at 8-1 before Spithill lead Oracle Team USA to eight straight victories on San Francisco Bay to retain the oldest trophy in global sports.
Although they have won three races, the Kiwis lead Oracle 2-0.
Australian Spithill's Oracle team now faces an uphill battle to win the 35th edition of the competition, where the trophy is earned by the first team to reach seven points. "To do that you've got to win eight races".
New Zealand are closing in on winning the America's Cup, having claimed four of the eight races they need to recapture the world's oldest worldwide sporting competition.
Racing resumes Saturday and Sunday.
ORACLE TEAM USA is looking to win its third consecutive America's Cup, a feat last achieved by the same team in the 1930s.
"Everyone connected to our team has been working incredibly hard to try and give us a fast boat and it is incredible to be able to reward them with two victories today", said Peter Burling. "This is the group to respond because we've got the confidence that we can do it", he said.
"I think we've made it no secret that we're over the moon by the support we get from back home", Burling said.
Oracle does have history on its side.
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.
Coutts has been the CEO of Oracle Team USA since it beat Alinghi in 2010.
"I definitely think this bonus point advantage is going to be important", Spithill said. "Jimmy (Spithill) and Oracle Team USA sailed really well to put us under a lot of pressure, but we managed to keep our composure and sail really well".