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America's Cup: Spithill not ruling out change at Oracle's helm

America's Cup: Spithill not ruling out change at Oracle's helm”

The Kiwis need one more win to humble Ellison's squad and reclaim the oldest trophy in worldwide sports for the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron in Auckland, which held it from 1995-2003. It would certainly be sweet redemption.

Oracle skipper Jimmy Spithill says he's prepared to hand over the helm.

The Kiwis are sitting on match point in the first-to-seven series after helmsman Peter Burling out-manoeuvred and out-paced Spithill's Team USA in light airs this morning.

That's all Burling needed to put his cat ahead for good, winning by 12 seconds. "That was certainly a mistake".

It's no bother to Spithill that Team USA merely cut Team New Zealand's lead in the first-to-seven regatta to 4-1. 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.

The US Defenders of the America's Cup found themselves 3-0 down to their Kiwi rivals after the first four races of the final stage of the 35th America's Cup.

"I think we've got the speed.to put a win under our belt", USA skipper Jimmy Spithill said after the race. Prior to the Cup finals, conventional wisdom held it that one of the areas where Oracle held an advantage over the New Zealanders was in the technical art of match racing. Perhaps it comes down to positioning on the course and match race tactics. Oracle stalled, the New Zealander's bore away and easily won the start.

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Spithill said his team had seen the Kiwis taking a few days off during the week while Team USA sailed every day.

Under pressure in the shifty winds, Oracle produced a series of mistakes that further doomed their chances, including a penalty for sailing through the boundary and a splash-down off their foils that saw them slow dramatically.

Two statistics helped further tell the day's story. In other words, they performed flawlessly.

Little separated the boats for the remainder but victory was effectively sealed when Spithill made gains late on leg five upwind and shot sufficiently clear downwind.

With a 6-1 lead in the first-to-seven points series, the New Zealanders can claim the Cup on Monday and expunge the memory of their crushing defeat in 2013, when they led the U.S. 8-1 before falling 9-8 in San Francisco. They simply can not afford to lose another race. "But here we are".

Team USA was clearly was faster than the opening weekend wipeout, when the Kiwis won four straight races by margins from 30 to 88 seconds.

Underfunded Team New Zealand nearly folded after that debacle, but has bounced back with a remarkably fast boat design that includes a radical cycling grinding system. One race at a time.



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