Published: Mon, June 19, 2017
Sport | By Ellis Neal

Kiwis beat Oracle in America's Cup opener in Bermuda

Kiwis beat Oracle in America's Cup opener in Bermuda

Emirates Team New Zealand condemned Oracle Team USA to another pair of crushing defeats on day two of the Americas Cup Match, presented by Louis Vuitton, yesterday.

Both teams essentially had faultless races, but the superior boat speed of Emirates Team New Zealand proved the deciding factor, the Kiwis pulling away throughout the race to build a lead of 500 metres heading towards the fifth gate. We also learned, or confirmed, the kiwi team is insane fast in the 8 knot winds seen today.

From 8-1 down and facing match point, Larry Ellison's defending champions won eight races in a row to triumph 9-8.

The sighting begged the question of whether the USA team were putting together a second boat or merely trying to rattle their rivals - who are out to expunge the memory of their spectacular collapse from an 8-1 lead in the title series in San Francisco four years ago.

Trailing the Kiwi boat, Spithill went for the split at the gate as he chased hard in pursuit of Burling, victor of the Red Bull Youth America's Cup in 2013.

"There's a long, long way to go in this regatta and, as we saw last time in San Francisco, things can change very quickly", said Macbeth, whose team lost to New Zealand in an earlier round.

"I think you've got two of the best teams in the world going head-to-head in a real heavyweight battle and man, ". "These are going to be the most important five days of this America's Cup campaign for us, ' said the two-time victor of the America's Cup".

"The easterly is a tricky direction", Spithill said.

"To do that (win the cup) we've gotta win eight races".

No, we are not, repeat NOT getting ahead of ourselves.

The five day break is a boon, added Spithill, who noted that the team didn't have almost that much time in 2013 when they were staring down defeat while trailing New Zealand 1-8 in San Francisco. "We know if we stand still these guys will be catching us", he said.

"I thought we took a good step forward from yesterday, but it is clear we have to find some speed from somewhere, that is no secret".

All five other teams signed up to the framework agreement in January, which aims to encourage more teams to compete by using the same boats to cut the multi-million dollar costs of mounting a campaign, encouraging more teams to participate, and helps to secure television broadcast rights.

Unflappable on the water, Burling seems nonplussed about Spithill. "However, I've been here before, and it is still only a point!"

Burling has barely engaged in the start box, keeping out of trouble and relying on boat speed to hand them an early advantage on the opening two legs.

"We're a very candid group", he said. "We thought we were coming back when we wanted to but as it turned out we were wrong, it is something we will have to go back and look at". That's what we're planning to race.

The Kiwi helmsman was reading the wind shifts like a book, outclassing Oracle to record a whopping win by 1 minute and 12 seconds, their biggest and most convincing of the finals so far.

The New Zealand team are a fast, well-oiled machine with their aerodynamic pod of four "cyclor" sailors, who supply the energy needed to power the boat's massive wing sail by pedaling on bikes.

"It was an incredibly tricky day out there with the winds and they certainly weren't our best manoeuvres", conceded Burling.

However, there was to be no late drama, as Burling's team crossed the finish line 30 seconds ahead of Spithill's ORACLE TEAM USA, wiping out the minus one point deficit to the Defenders and levelling the overall scores to 0-0 ahead of race two.

The New Zealand team's double victory erased a one-point advantage the USA team earned in an earlier regatta and gave them an early lead as they showed superior speed over the defending champions in the opening races.

The helmsman said he has been blown away by the hordes of flag-wearing New Zealanders at the Americas Cup Village as well as the teams local fanbase in Bermuda.

The 37-year-old Australian skipper of Oracle Team USA will take on all comers, whether it's from behind the wheel of his fast catamaran in the America's Cup, in a boxing ring or via lethal mind games at news conferences.

But the Kiwis later came off their foils during a hard maneuver and slowed dramatically in the tough conditions, losing half their lead.

Like this: