Dominant New Zealand increase America's Cup lead


The Kiwi team continued to excel in light-wind sailing and again showed superior speed and slick maneuvers, whipping their 50-foot foiling catamaran around the course at a maximum speed of 38.5 kph.

Spithill took a few digs at the Kiwis on June 3 after Oracle clinched a bonus point for the match.

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.

Team New Zealand needs four wins, Oracle TeamUSA seven.

Spithill's Oracle team now face an uphill battle to win the 35th edition of the competition, where the trophy is earned by the first team to reach seven points.

Racing resumes Saturday and Sunday.

Spithill noted that many in Team USA are veterans of the 2013 campaign in San Francisco, when New Zealand held match point at 8-1 against Oracle only to lose 8-9 - falling victim to one of sport's greatest comebacks.

"The up-side, for us, is there's a lot of technology out there now", Spithill said. We really need to use those days wisely. "Five days, a very important five days", says Spithill.

Oracle does have history on its side.

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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. "The team's hungry. They're a very, very competitive group".

"We're under no illusions", helsman Peter Burling, 26, said.

"Their acceleration was pretty impressive on the line".

"We know if we stand still, they'll catch us".

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

The Americans will spend their time poring over the data and trying to work out what changes they can make to their foil and rudder packages to eke out extra boat speed. The American-backed crew benefited from a wind shift sailing upwind on leg five in the second race and made up a huge deficit, pulling right behind the Kiwis sailing through the gate mark.

The always-innovative Kiwis are using a "cyclor" grinding system. They have built four stationary cycling stations into each hull to tap leg power instead of traditional arm power from the grinders to power the hydraulic systems that control the wing mainsail and the daggerboards. He has won Olympic gold and silver medals with grinder Blair Tuke.

Jimmy Spithill, looking strained but keeping the upbeat message, calls the next five days a "great opportunity". "I thought we were faster than yesterday but unfortunately it's just not enough". But we know that. "We're not going to hide from the truth".

"Halfway way up that second beat we definitely lost a lot and we have to go away and keep learning and improving", admitted Burling.