Thursday, 21 September, 2017

Spithill skippers Oracle to 1st win in America's Cup

Sailing is popular at Takapuna Beach on Auckland's North Shore but house prices won't necessarily follow the rise and New Zealand apply the pressure on USA in final
Connie Andrews | 25 June, 2017, 02:12

Emirates Team New Zealand, right, leads Oracle Team USA, left, during the fourth race of Americas Cup competition, Sunday in Hamilton, Bermuda.

The Kiwi team dominated the opening four races against the defender (one of the points from those wins was scrubbed out as Team NZ went into the Cup match on -1), revealing massive speed advantage over the US-flagged boat.

Burling, the Tauranga raised helmsman of Emirates Team New Zealand, took the challengers into the America's Cup contest, by defeating Artemis in the challenger finals.

Coutts was working with the Oracle crew this week to improve its decision-making. Coutts, who led Team NZ to its famous victory over Conner's Young America in 1995 in San Diego, before defending the Cup on the Hauraki Gulf in 2000, is head of the America's Cup Events Authority and Oracle Team USA.

Until the sixth race, the powerhouse American-backed squad, crewed mostly by Australians, had been humbled by the underfunded but crafty Kiwis, helmed by 26-year-old Peter Burling. But Spithill has insisted he doesn't believe the "cyclors" make much difference in providing sufficient power to the hydraulics system at key moments, even though it's reckoned the legs can generate some 30 percent more power than the arms.

"We've been excpecting these races to be a bit tighter like that, but we feel we've got really good boat-opn-boat stuff now to be able to deal with it".

Race 4 was to follow.

They were one of the only teams to consistently get up on their foils as they eased away from the rest of the fleet. Team USA have already added one cycle station - with tactician Tom Slingsby sometimes seen pedalling.

"We changed everything", he said.

The call could have gone either way but race officials ruled Oracle didn't give Team New Zealand enough space to manoeuvre around their vessel as they crossed.

Emirates Team New Zealand capitalised on mistakes from their rivals to leave them 4-0 ahead and just three points from victory.

Burling, who has won Olympic gold and silver medals with Team New Zealand crewmate Blair Tuke, got in a zinger of his own, saying about Oracle, "It's great to see a bit of fight out of these boys". When the cats reach a certain speed, they rise up on the leeward daggerboard and rudders, with the hulls completely out of the water.

"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.

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