New Zealand Wins a Race but Oracle Then Breaks Through
15:30, Jun 29, 2017
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HAMILTON, Bermuda New Zealand lifted the America's Cup on Monday, nearly white-washing the USA holders with a revolutionary boat and a new superstar sailor avenging a humbling defeat four years ago.
The US victory in the second race of the day gave the team backed by billionaire Oracle founder Larry Ellison hope of another comeback against New Zealand.
Race 8 was to follow.
However, the win also signifies that the clear advantage Emirates Team New Zealand had over their United States rivals in the opening weekend of the America's Cup Match, presented by Louis Vuitton has gone, and that means world-class, exciting racing is guaranteed in the remaining head-to-heads between the two teams fighting for the oldest trophy in global sport. Sailor Ben Ainslie speaks during an interview with Reuters during the America's Cup finals.
He was keen to heap pressure on the challengers heading into two further races on Monday (NZT). "We're really excited about being able to go out there tomorrow and put it all on the line again". We now have confidence in the tool we have, which is the most important thing. We've seen this movie before.
"We have learned our lesson from San Fran", he said. New Zealand tacked and gybed 17 times to Oracles 19. It's an onfield decision, you've just got to live with it.
We felt they were a little rusty last weekend but we are under no illusions. Potentially, in a situation like this you could see a team split apart, but when we got ashore everyone pulled together because we know this isn't over. But they faced up to the challenge and sped away to the finish for the first win of the series. "We've proven we can races against these guys if we sail well but if we make too many mistakes like we did today then we won't win races".
"I'm very, very proud of how the boys sailed the boat today - there were some great gains there".
"That was exactly what the boys needed- we've had a good improvement on our boat speed today and I think another step tomorrow would be great", a pumped-up Jimmy Spithill, the USA skipper, said from onboard his boat after the race.
From there the Kiwi crew steadily extended away to a 30 second victory, extending their overall margin to 6-1, one win away from returning sport's oldest trophy to New Zealand shores.
"All of our onboard gear had us behind the line at the start but it was wrong", bemoaned Spithill of the early penalty. We're pretty disappointed with the umpire call.
The lead changed hands twice on the second leg, with the United States of America reaching the third mark in front.
Oracle had another mistake on the fourth leg when it made a bad gybe and came off its foils.
Oracle skipper Jimmy Spithill says he's prepared to hand over the helm. But after the Kiwis won both races on day four to move to within a single victory of regaining the Cup, Spithill spoke out of habit, rather than conviction.
He crossed ahead on the third leg.
Day 4 (Races 7 and 8) of the America's Cup match was a decisive one for Emirates Team New Zealand, dominating to a point where Team Oracle USA started to crack and made numerous mistakes. Because Oracle won the qualifiers, the Kiwis started this America's Cup match on the Great Sound with a negative point. Oracle did cut Team New Zealand's 35-second lead at the fifth gate mark to 12 seconds at the sixth gate mark.
While Burling steers the boat, the crew is skippered by Australian Glenn Ashby, 39, a multihull wiz who controls the wingsail.
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