Oracle skipper Spithill tough on, off water in America's Cup

Oracle skipper Spithill tough on, off water in America's Cup

Peter Burling, 26, the helmsman of Emirates Team New Zealand won both of the starts against Jimmy Spithill, despite having less match racing experience, which has earned the Kiwi team a reputation as underdogs.

Although they've won the first four races, the Kiwis lead Oracle 3-0.

Analysis - Could this be the "San Francisco moment" when an ascendant Team New Zealand is savaged by a revitalised Oracle TeamUSA?

Well-funded Oracle Team USA has five days to try to come with some answers to counter the spot-on design innovations by the scrappy Kiwis, who are getting by with much less funding.

Burling kept his composure, rounding the fifth gate with his 49 second advantage intact, and from that point there was no looking back Emirates Team New Zealand crossed the finish line almost a minute ahead of the USA team and Burling claimed his third victory on the trot in the America's Cup Match, presented by Louis Vuitton.

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.

"Today was a really good day for us", Burling said.

"We've been here before, it's not over", he said.

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New Zealand are closing in on winning the America's Cup, having claimed four of the eight races they need to recapture the world's oldest global sporting competition.

Oracle came in with a 10-race winning streak against Team New Zealand, including eight at the end of the 2013 regatta and two in the round-robins this year.

In 2013, he helped lead one of the greatest comebacks in sports, when Oracle, down 8-1 at match point to the Kiwis, won eight straight races on San Francisco Bay to retain the oldest trophy in worldwide sports.

However, once again Emirates Team New Zealand gave their rivals a glimmer of hope in the closing stages as ORACLE TEAM USA dramatically cut the gap to Emirates Team New Zealand on the run to the fifth mark. But were also a quite candid group and its quite clear we need to make some changes.

"We're more anxious about the boat - how to make the boat quicker, how to get around the track quicker".

A member of Emirates Team New Zealand raises a sail before a sailing training session Friday, June 16, 2017, in Hamilton, Bermuda. "We know if we stand still these guys will be catching us", he said.

“A big percentage of our team has been through some pretty tough situations — one, the obvious comeback during the last Americas Cup — so this is not the first time weve had to bounce back and really respond from a tough situation.

"Blair and myself in the 49er kept pushing forward even when we were ahead, we've got plenty of things to work on", he told RNZ.

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