Kiwis beat Oracle in America's Cup opener in Bermuda

Posted June 26, 2017

Peter Burling steered Emirates Team New Zealand to another runaway victory against Jimmy Spithill and two-time defending champion Oracle Team USA in Race 3 of the America's Cup on Sunday to remain undefeated in the showdown on the Great Sound.

Spithill and his team beat Peter Burling's Kiwis twice in the Louis Vuitton America's Cup Qualifiers a couple of weeks ago.

The forecast is for light to moderate Easterlies this weekend, with winds in the 8 to 11 knot range.

The last meeting between these teams in the America's Cup Match saw Spithill and his team complete one of the most remarkable comebacks in sporting history to win the 34th America's Cup in September 2013.

But Burling is taking nothing for granted after the US fought back from 8-1 down to take the famous old trophy when the boats last clashed in San Francisco four years ago.

In 2013, Team New Zealand had its boat as good as it would get virtually from day one. "We've got a lot of hard work to do to keep pushing forward".

"Clearly, now we need to put everything back on the table".

Team New Zealand needs to win four more races to return the Auld Mug to the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron in Auckland, where it resided from 1995-2003.

Before sitting out the challenger semi-finals and final, they topped the round-robin qualifying standings to earn a valuable bonus point that they take into the America's Cup proper.

That break, and Oracle's ability to keep innovating proved the impetus behind the USA team's stunning comeback. "It's quite clear we need to make some changes".

But that won't stop others from drawing conclusions.

Team New Zealand emerged battle-hardened from its challenger final win over Artemis and still had days to fine-tune the boat.

"We were far from our best today. we need to sharpen up and that's what we'll focus on tonight, Oracle skipper Jimmy Spithill told a news conference".

Burling has barely engaged in the start box, keeping out of trouble and relying on boat speed to hand them an early advantage on the first two legs.

"We had a little issue on board during the first start", said Spithill.

"System, appendage, sailing technique and strategy - we're going to look at everything".

"We've proved we can win races against these guys". They won by 30 seconds, still showing their dominance in light wind.

However, Burling did not have it all his own way and mistakes began to creep in. Great vantage point for americascup race in spectacular Bermuda between EmiratesTeamNZ & OracleTeamUSA.

One again, cool heads prevailed and with the boat up and running properly Emirates Team New Zealand held off Spithill then floored it, forcing the Oracle skipper to acknowledge: "Their acceleration was pretty impressive off the line". In the second contest, the victor would earn a one point advantage heading into the America's Cup Match. That was enough for Burling to speed away around the seven-leg course.

ORACLE TEAM USA have implemented a "cyclor-lite" system with Tom Slingsby sometimes seen cycling downwind whilst calling tactics, but this is very much an afterthought addition. Without a host of changes I don't think this is possible in five days, and they'd also have to adapt to their new positions.

"We'll have to go back and look at that because it was obviously a key moment in the race".

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 worldwide sporting competition.