New Zealand pedal their way to brink of America's Cup glory

Team New Zealand are now just one win away from lifting the America's Cup after two more victories over Oracle Team USA this morning.

Spithill, who was penalized for being over the start during one of Sunday's races, swerved as he flew in toward the line alongside Burling's 50-foot (15 meter) foiling catamaran, losing critical momentum.

But Spithill's been here before.

New Zealand lead the USA team 4-1 in the first-to-seven final and a win for them would mean that they have the right to change the type of boat used, as well as the venue and the timing of the next event, which has raised alarm bells for some teams that face losing sponsorship if there is uncertainty.

Team U.S.A. made another mistake on the fourth leg when a bad jibe caused the boat to come off its foils.

He said he feels the Kiwis have been on the favourable end of "a few soft penalties" by the umpires. "If we think the team has got a better chance with me off the wheel, no problem", he said when asked whether he would be steering on Monday, after admitting to several mistakes during the racing. "That's good. I love seeing that".

Emirates Team NZ moved within a win of glory with their most comprehensive starting performance of the regatta, catching their opponents deep in the start-box and leaving them standing. And an absolutely necessary victory from the defending syndicate Oracle Team USA.

Things started badly on Saturday for the U.S.as they were fraction of a second over the line at the start of the first race, picking up a penalty which left them trailing.

"We knew to expect a battle and now it appears we have got one", remarked Burling.

"We've been there before".

He said the United States team would fight to the end and had staged a comeback from a similar position before, something they did in San Francisco.

"It's an incredibly shifty day and we tried to consolidate a little bit halfway up that second beat and let them get a bit closer, but it felt like we had pretty minimal risk that whole race". "We saw these guys take days off during the week, but we made a commitment to use every single one of them to make the boat faster..."

"On the final downwind stretch the Kiwi boat was giving its fans a few nervous moments as Oracle found pressure and clawed 20" back. He said it was a great opportunity for the shore team to work on its boat.

“We just couldnt get the hook up after we turned up there at the start and unfortunately allowed them the hook and from then on it was very, very hard to catch up once they got their nose free, ” Spithill said.

While the island of Bermuda will have to wait to learn if their America's Cup investment pays off, winds of 8 to 10 knots on the Great Sound were enough to keep the event on schedule.

  • Julie Sanders


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