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35th America's Cup Match, presented by Louis Vuitton - Day 4

by 35th America's Cup 25 Jun 2017 14:10 PDT 25 June 2017

Day four of the America's Cup Match, presented by Louis Vuitton, belonged firmly to Peter Burling and the New Zealand team who comfortably won the two scheduled races of the day, races seven and eight of the final stage of the 35th America's Cup.

Having won race six on Saturday, ORACLE TEAM USA went into the second Sunday of the America's Cup Match, presented by Louis Vuitton, looking to gain more ground on their Kiwi rivals, but the New Zealand juggernaut had found its pace again and was unbeatable in similar weather conditions to day three, Saturday 24th June.

The America's Cup Match, presented by Louis Vuitton leaderboard now stands at 6-1 to Emirates Team New Zealand who need only one more race to take the 'Auld Mug' back to their home country.

"We were absolutely delighted with how the day went," said Peter Burling after claiming back-to-back victories to take his team to the verge of their first America's Cup success since 2000. "We were disappointed to give away a race yesterday but we certainly made up for it today.

"We've got a fantastic team and you can see that out on the water. We've all got the same understanding of what we want to achieve and we are all on the same page.

"Despite the lead we won't get ahead of ourselves because we still know we have a job to do and it's still an incredibly tough ask.

"A lot has been said about what happened four years ago but I love the pressure. If you want to come all the way to Bermuda and win the America's Cup then you have to deal with immense pressure. As a group we feel the pressure is bringing the best out of us and I think we've more than answered those questions."

For ORACLE TEAM USA, this is familiar ground, and nobody would write off the Defenders who so memorably staged one of, if not the, greatest comebacks in sport when they pulled back from an 8-1 deficit to win the 2013 America's Cup 9-8 against the same rivals.

"They [Emirates Team New Zealand] sailed better than us today and made a lot fewer mistakes," conceded Jimmy Spithill on what was a disappointing day for ORACLE TEAM USA.

"They deserved to win both of the races because we clearly made far too many mistakes out there. We're in a tough situation now and all we can really do is take this one race at a time.

"The plan certainly wasn't to be in this position again, I can assure you of that, but we are here now so it is up to all of us to respond and react.

"You wouldn't have been surprised to see a bit of a bad reaction out there today but the boys kept fighting and that's great. 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.

"I still think we can win races with this boat. 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."

Having made changes to their boat since the opening weekend of the America's Cup Match, presented by Louis Vuitton, Jimmy Spithill was asked if there might also be changes to personnel on the ORACLE TEAM USA boat ahead of day five, to which he replied, "Anything is on the table. Every single team member in ORACLE TEAM USA will do whatever they can to help the team win.

"That includes me. If the team feel they have a better chance of winning with me on the wheel, I'll be on the wheel, if we feel we have a better chance with me off the wheel, no problem. Our attitude has always been you put the team before yourself.

"Once again we will go away and review everything and tomorrow we will put out the boat, the configuration and the team we feel will give us the best possible chance to win some races.

"We don't need to think too much about the end result, all we need to focus on is winning one race, and one race at a time. We have to learn from our mistakes and come out fighting stronger tomorrow, that's it, that's all we will be thinking about."

Racing is scheduled to resume at 2.00pm on Monday 26th June with races nine and ten in the America's Cup Match, presented by Louis Vuitton, taking place on Bermuda's Great Sound.

Race Seven

It was a drag race over the startline in race seven as both teams made clean getaways, Emirates Team New Zealand just ahead as they rounded mark one. Spithill blinked first, making the turn before Burling and slowly inching closer to the Kiwis as they headed towards gate two. On leg three there was very little between the two teams but the Kiwis extended their advantage again as they headed upwind, giving themselves a 32 second lead as they headed into leg four.

Despite the growing gap, ORACLE TEAM USA did not give up, continuing to try and claw back the advantage the Kiwis were building, but it was largely to no avail. The New Zealanders put on a dominant display, extending their lead to 40 seconds by gate four and then slightly back to 35 seconds at the fifth gate.

On leg six it looked as if Emirates Team New Zealand would wrap up the victory cleanly, but a bad jibe gave ORACLE TEAM USA a glimmer of hope.

Spithill and his crew did everything they could to stop the leaderboard ticking round to 5-1 to Emirates Team New Zealand, reducing the deficit to 13 seconds at the sixth gate, but they were unable to bridge the gap completely and that left the Kiwis celebrating victory in race seven.

Race Eight

The second of Sunday's two races started with Emirates Team New Zealand putting clear air between them and ORACLE TEAM USA well before the startline after Spithill had failed to box in his rival, having to watch Burling accelerating into a 13 second lead before Spithill had even crossed the start.

"We thought we would be able to pull a manoeuvre off but clearly we couldn't, it was a big mistake," admitted Spithill on the poor pre-start. "That really handed it to Peter and these guys were in a pretty easy situation to hook us and that's game over really."

By gate two that lead was already up to 24 seconds and Spithill chose to split the course, a decision that appeared to pay dividends as the gap started to decrease, but a penalty on leg four as ORACLE TEAM USA sailed outside the boundary effectively ended their hopes in race eight.

Again, Emirates Team New Zealand continued to extend their lead, reaching 36 seconds ahead at mark four, sailing their America's Cup Class (ACC) boat perfectly. This was in contrast to ORACLE TEAM USA whose minor issues kept increasing the difference between the two teams on the racetrack.

Finally, another dominant display by Burling and the New Zealand team culminated in a 30 second win in race eight over ORACLE TEAM USA, putting them on the brink of winning the 35th America's Cup.

Race Results:

  • Race Seven: Emirates Team New Zealand bt ORACLE TEAM USA by 12 seconds
  • Race Eight: Emirates Team New Zealand bt ORACLE TEAM USA by 30 seconds

Overall Standings

  • Emirates Team New Zealand 6*
  • ORACLE TEAM USA 1

* Emirates Team New Zealand started the America's Cup Match, presented by Louis Vuitton -1 due to ORACLE TEAM USA's win in the Louis Vuitton America's Cup Qualifiers

Kiwis are at Match Point & the banter continues in Bermuda (from Nic Douglass, Adventures of a Sailor Girl)

Behind-the-scenes from day four of the 35th Louis Vuitton America's Cup Match. In this snapshot I caught up with Peter Burling, just before he had to run off to be drug tested, and I recap the highlights, in particular for Burling's Emirates Team New Zealand who sailed next to perfectly to take it to "Match Point" and 6-1 over ORACLE TEAM USA.

While James Spithill was again missed in the mix zone for most except for ACEA related media and CNN (he does have a bit on!!!), while filming my Nautical Channel piece (out in a few hours) and my summary I also caught up with Tom Spithill. Some serious #banter running over just how well the Kiwis are sailing, how great the racing has been in general, how important #shorecream is AND also how similar Tommy's lines are to his brother's.

Note: Remember to be gracious and thoughtful fans people, a little bit of class goes a long way, these sailors regardless of team or nationality are all human x

Fan banter in Bermuda

You have got to love the America's Cup #banter between Emirates Team New Zealand and ORACLE TEAM USA - from the press conference, to the streets which are lined with various flags and banners - to music and "boat placement".

AC35: Morning BanterPosted by Adventures of a Sailor Girl on Sunday, 25 June 2017

Chat with Iain Murray and OTUSA's asymmetry

Yesterday in my live commentary of the racing I surmised that ORACLE TEAM USA are using asymmetric foils as one of their changes. This has since been confirmed when the boat was being craned in today. I asked Big Fella about the asymmetric concept again this morning, and we covered some of the other US changes, and then we went over the reaction times involved with all of the dial downs yesterday.

Going to be great racing today, the aim of the game for me! Emirates Team New Zealand and OTUSA are now on the course warming up, with a small increase in pressure on yesterday no doubt it is going to be a ripper.

Enjoy, and remember you can listen live via radio stream wherever you are and catch up on all of our reviews including racing action at www.nicdouglass.org/ac35

For more adventures head to www.AdventuresofaSailorGirl.com, or subscribe to "Adventures Weekly", and for live action, be sure to tune in to our social medial channels; Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @sailorgirlHQ.

Two more wins, two steps forward, for Emirates Team New Zealand (from Emirates Team New Zealand)

It's match point for Emirates Team New Zealand at the 35th America's Cup in Bermuda after a stunning performance against Oracle Team USA.

Peter Burling and his crew took out both races to go 6-1 up in the first to seven Match, but it was the way in which they won that is the talking point.

After, what was by their standards, an error-strewn race six yesterday, the Kiwis approached race seven today with lessons clearly well learned overnight.

In similar light conditions of 8-10 knots Burling controlled the start to go streaking round Mark 1 three seconds to the good. And by the end of the first upwind leg Emirates Team New Zealand led by 32".

On the final downwind stretch the Kiwi boat was giving its fans a few nervous moments as Oracle found pressure and clawed 20" back.

They needn't have worried. This was an astute tactical race by the Emirates Team New Zealand afterguard who were prepared to make sacrifices to keep it tight and controlled.

"We said last night that we had a few things to work on and we addressed a few of them today," said Burling. "We tried to consolidate. We felt like we had minimal risk the whole race. Pretty happy with that."

One commentator called it a "statement" race for Emirates Team New Zealand which used up the perfect adjective to describe the start of race 8.

In his most aggressive move of the Match so far Burling took the fight directly to Oracle skipper Jimmy Spithill. He lined him up, hooked him and then left him dead in the water "both hulls in", before lighting up Aotearoa to fly round mark one 14" clear.

It was the start of a nightmare race for Spithill who took Oracle over the boundary line for an unforced error that copped a penalty and in another poor mark rounding he sat the boat down again.

The Kiwis, meanwhile, were up and running on their way to another start-to-finish victory with a 30" margin and a 100 per cent fly time on the foils right round the track.

Even Spithill felt obliged to praise Emirates Team New Zealand performance saying: "Hats off to those guys today. They deserved to win the two races."

Oracle's plan is to continue learning lessons, come back stronger and take it one race at a time knowing they have beaten the Kiwis once in the Match so far.

For the Kiwis, skipper Glenn Ashby also had a familiar refrain: "We've been in this situation before. There's still a long way to go.

"We're just going to look at tomorrow as another day. We've seen this movie before. Anything can happen and we are just going to keep focussing on what we can focus on, you know... sailing the boat well, keep pushing hard and just take tomorrow as it comes."

ORACLE TEAM USA staring down match point (from ORACLE TEAM USA)

With Jimmy Spithill's ORACLE TEAM USA winning the sixth race of the America's Cup Match on Bermuda's Great Sound on Saturday to get its first point on the scoreboard, anticipation was heightened for close racing on Sunday.

But it didn't work out that way.

With an advantage off the startline in both races, challenger Emirates Team New Zealand was able to comfortably protect a leading position around the race course following both starts to earn two wins and extend its advantage in the series to 6-1.

The first team to earn 7 points will win the America's Cup.

The defending champion, ORACLE TEAM USA, is now facing match point for the 35th America's Cup.

It's a position the team is familiar with. In 2013, the American defender famously 'stared down the barrel of the gun' as skipper Jimmy Spithill led a comeback for the ages turning an 8-1 deficit into a 9-8 win. Then too, it was Team New Zealand holding the lead.

"This isn't a position you would choose to be in," Spithill admitted. "But the fact is, we're here. And so the question now becomes, what are you going to do about it? And I know our team. There is no quit. We will keep fighting to the end.

"We know we can beat these guys. We've done it before. We're not looking to win six races all at once. Our job is simple – win one race at a time."

Two races are scheduled on Monday afternoon on Bermuda's Great Sound race course.

America's Cup Match – Race Seven Report

Conditions for racing on Sunday were similar to those of Saturday, with a Southerly wind in the 9-10 knot range for the first race of the day.

There was less engagement in the pre-start to this race with ORACLE TEAM USA skipper Jimmy Spithill taking up position to windward of the New Zealand boat. But with just a few seconds to go to the start, Spithill took a late little jog to weather and that meant the team trailed across the starting line by just one-second. Keeping the pressure on, by the bottom gate the Kiwi lead was just five-seconds.

ORACLE TEAM USA followed the Kiwis through the gate and it took three tacks to break a tight cover. Spithill and tactician Slingsby broke free to the right hand side of the race course, but it didn't pay, with New Zealand finding more wind on the left and extending its lead. The Kiwis again took up a covering position, but now with a larger lead.

By the first upwind gate, New Zealand had extended to a 32-second lead. But ORACLE TEAM USA found more pressure with a split at the top and began to close the gap early on the leg. But after the first gybe, New Zealand had the wind advantage and extended out to a 40-second lead. Although ORACLE TEAM USA closed the gap dramatically on the final legs, the Kiwis held on to take a 5-1 lead in the series with a 12-second win.

Crew list for Race Seven:

  • Skipper / Helmsman -- Jimmy Spithill
  • Wing Trimmer -- Kyle Langford
  • Tactician / Grinder -- Tom Slingsby
  • Grinder -- Louis Sinclair
  • Grinder – Sam Newton
  • Grinder -- Ky Hurst

America's Cup Match – Race Eight Report

ORACLE TEAM USA found itself slow and vulnerable in this pre-start, and the Kiwis took advantage, swooping in for a hook and a luff that left Spithill and crew trailing into mark one by 12-seconds.

Spithill and Slingsby engineered a split at the bottom gate but Team New Zealand soon came over to blanket the American defender in a tight cover the rest of the way up the beat.

Team New Zealand was able to protect from there and is now on match point, leading 6-1.

"We couldn't avoid the hook and from there it was very difficult to catch them," Spithill said after the race.

"But you have take your hat off to those guys, they sailed well."

Crew list for Race Eight:

  • Skipper / Helmsman -- Jimmy Spithill
  • Wing Trimmer -- Kyle Langford
  • Tactician / Grinder -- Tom Slingsby
  • Grinder -- Cooper Dressler
  • Grinder – Sam Newton
  • Grinder -- Graeme Spence

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