wnol.info January 21 2018

Sailing-Winds of change for America's Cup in Bermuda Triangle

January 21 2018, 12:08 | Rex Rios

Clive Mason Team New Zealand helmsman Peter Burling is a graduate of the Youth America's Cup

Team New Zealand helmsman Peter Burling is a graduate of the Youth America's Cup

Emirates Team New Zealand moved into a 4-1 lead over Oracle Team USA as racing resumed at the America's Cup.

Burling and New Zealand went on to dominate the first four races - wiping out their one-point deficit due to the USA's qualifying round-robin win and then some.

But things could change if New Zealand triumph as the winners decide the format of the next cup and the Kiwis are the only team not to have signed up to the deal.

Having eradicated the mistakes that had held back Oracle Team USA in race five, Spithill kept his rival at bay in the run up to the finish line and sealed an 11-second win which, vitally, keeps Oracle Team USA firmly in the America's Cup Match, presented by Louis Vuitton.

Instead, the defenders will be relying on the guile of skipper Jimmy Spithill, the pugnacious Australian who brought them back from the brink last time.

In a frank interview this week, Tim Smyth, manager of the Oracle-owned Core Builders Composites in Warkworth, conceded Team New Zealand were odds on to win the Auld Mug.

Oracle Team USA won the cup in 2013 in San Francisco after staging one of the most astonishing sporting comebacks against New Zealand, winning 9-8 after having been 8-1 down. "They've obviously got speed and they've had a little edge in a lot of the maneuvers".

After a five-day break which allowed both teams to improve their boat speed, Team USA spoiled any gains they might have made by being penalised twice.

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. "There's more on the table, but the boat is getting quicker". Whether it's system related, appendage related, sailing technique or strategy, we are going to look at absolutely everything.

That could all change if the US holders are able to turn around a 3-0 Kiwi lead in the first-to-seven competition on Bermuda's Great Sound when racing resumes this weekend.

"I think he always had a good knack of making a boat sail fast, whatever that knack is its probably an unseen skill, it's probably nearly instinctive", says Nick. "The ideas that the designers had and then for the machinists and boat builders to build it, and then to go out there on the water and actually see it working as we dreamed it, is a pretty awesome thing to deliver for the boys".

And it was Spithill, not the unflappable Burling, who blinked first, incurring a penalty when he crossed the startline early in the opening race to hand New Zealand the advantage.

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