Spithill- 'We're ready for the Battle of Bermuda'

Beth Cruz
June 19, 2017

Emirates Team New Zealand ramped up the pressure on defending champions Oracle Team USA with their fourth successive win in the America's Cup final to go 3-0 up after the second day of racing on Sunday.

Oracle Team USA skipper Jimmy Spithill isn't waiting for the opening race of 35th America's Cup to launch his game of cat-and-mouse with Emirates Team New Zealand.

But Spithill, trying to pilot the U.S. to a third straight America's Cup title, was seconds early across the startline of race one and the Americans never recovered from the penalty, as Team New Zealand erased the United States boat's one-point advantage to level overall at 0-0. But its 50-foot catamaran came off its foils during a bad gybe and buried its bows in the water, allowing the Kiwis to speed back ahead and open a lead of more than 300 yards.

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

Although they have won three races, the Kiwis lead Oracle 2-0.

The two-time defending America's Cup champions are foundering badly against hotshot young helmsman Peter Burling and Emirates Team New Zealand, who are threatening to sail - and cycle - away with the oldest trophy in global sports.

That was enough for Burling to speed away around the seven-leg course.

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


Four years ago, New Zealand were eventually overhauled by an Oracle team that featured Britain's Ben Ainslie as tactician in what is regarded as one of sport's great comebacks.

The 26-year-old Burling is an America's Cup rookie.

Race 4 was to follow.

Oracle Team USA's track record of performing when their backs are against the wall and the intervening five days should set up a fascinating showdown to the competition as both teams race to modify their boats and improve performance.

He's already going strong as he attempts to win a third straight America's Cup with Oracle Team USA, the powerhouse squad owned by software billionaire Larry Ellison.

The Kiwi's control system, which is manned by skipper Glenn Ashby, means that they can also be fast and accurate going into manoeuvres and coming out.

Burling, who has won Olympic gold and silver medals with grinder Blair Tuke, again appeared unflappable. "I thought we were faster than yesterday but unfortunately it's just not enough. This is not going to be anything less that a huge battle we are expecting".

Other reports by Ligue1talk

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