Yachting: New Zealand beat U.S. in race 7 of America's Cup

Jimmy Spithill made history as Oracle Team USA gave themselves hope by getting up and running in the America's Cup to trail Emirates Team New Zealand 4-1.

The Kiwis need one more win to humble Ellison's squad and reclaim the oldest trophy in worldwide sports for the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron in Auckland, which held it from 1995-2003.

"It showed today that there was great racing out there - there were plenty of lead changes in the first race and we were really happy with how we fought back into that second one".

Having made changes to their boat since the opening weekend of the America's Cup Match, presented by Louis Vuitton, Jimmy Spithill was asked if there might also be changes to personnel on the Oracle Team USA boat ahead of day five, to which he replied, "Anything is on the table". The second self-inflicted wound was simply too much to overcome, as the Kiwi's extended on every subsequent leg to win by a commanding 2:04.

Race 8 was to follow.

Forced to make up a big margin following that setback, Spithill was then penalised for drifting outside the course to effectively hand race eight to New Zealand.

"We all saw today that the boat was faster". "From then on it was very hard to catch them once they got their noses ahead".

"On the final downwind stretch the Kiwi boat was giving its fans a few nervous moments as Oracle found pressure and clawed 20" back.

In this photo provided by America's Cup Event Authority, Oracle Team USA competes in the America's Cup sailing competition, in the Great Sound of Bermuda, Saturday, June 24, 2017. "We will come back tomorrow swinging and ready to fight", said the 37-year-old Australian.

Burling could become the youngest helmsman to win sailing's greatest prize. And finding a little bit of gamesmanship in his own right, Oracle's Spithill seemed supremely confident for a man still facing a 3-race deficit in the regatta.

Spithill said there was a quick crew meeting after Race 8 and he was pleased that the sailors kept their composure.

After lagging 12 seconds behind at the third mark, the Kiwis did actually edge ahead over the fourth downwind leg, turning six seconds up at the next gate.

But Burling did his best to remain calm, even as the spectre of his team's capitulation in San Francisco four years ago rear its head - again.

The next time the boats came together, Team New Zealand was slightly ahead and on favored starboard tack.

Sailing fans who got up early this morning were rewarded with two New Zealand victories in Bermuda.

The Kiwis have revolutionised sailing in the 35th America's Cup, using "cyclors" who pedal to provide the power needed to control the boat's foils and towering "wing" sail.

  • Salvatore Jensen