New Zealand extend lead over U.S. in America's Cup final

Kristopher Drake
June 25, 2017

Coutts was CEO of Oracle Team USA when it beat Alinghi in a match of giant multihulls in 2010 and then defended against Team New Zealand in 2013.

But Spithill's been here before.

With memories of Oracle's incredible comeback in San Francisco still fresh in their mind, Team NZ have worked hard to ensure the break will not be a momentum killer. "I just put the bows in and gave it a good send".

That'll be a big ask, considering how fast and dominating helmsman Peter Burling and Emirates Team New Zealand were in routing Oracle in the first four races last weekend.

Oracle came back and won Race 6 by 11 seconds, the closest margin so far. That was the key thing That's why today was very, very important.

While an Auckland cup would be more expensive for some sponsors and create challenges for televising the event in some countries, sponsors such as Land Rover which supports Britain's BAR team do not see it as a deal breaker.

"We all saw today that the boat was faster", he said.

"We had success promoting Neil Hunter from junior to senior team and we can only look forward to more talented young sailors moving up and forward in their sailing careers with us". "It is working. The boat is getting quicker".

Little separated the boats for the remainder but victory was effectively sealed when Spithill made gains late on leg five upwind and shot sufficiently clear downwind. The whisper is Peter Burling and Blair Tuke convinced team leadership to take a page out of their Olympic playbook and minimise distractions.

To which Spithill responded, "It's just beginning, mate".

Both teams were out practising on the water on Thursday, preparing for racing to restart on Saturday.

Team New Zealand gained during a wind shift on leg four of the sixth race and passed Oracle. The Kiwis led by 57 seconds at the downwind mark.

The Americans, skippered by Australian Jimmy Spithill, have breathed life into the race-to-seven decider, looking sharper in a boat which has clearly benefited from five days of development work.

When the boats crossed again, New Zealand was slightly ahead and on favored starboard tack. Sailing Illustrated magazine reports that Burling is said "to know the names of everyone connected with the team, as well as their spouses and even kids".

The team mimicked their race day schedule, leaving the dock at 1.15pm local time, and returning at 4pm.

Emirates Team New Zealand sails during a training session Wednesday, June 21, 2017, in Hamilton, Bermuda.

Team New Zealand was the only syndicate that didn't sign a framework agreement that calls for the next two America's Cup regattas to be sailed in catamarans in 2019 and 2021.

Emirates Team New Zealand races Oracle Team USA during the fifth race of America's Cup sailing competition Saturday, June 24, 2017, in Hamilton, Bermuda.

Other reports by Ligue1talk

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