Team New Zealand on match point

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  • Emirates Team New Zealand struck back to take the first race on the Great Sound today (Photograph by Gregory Bull/AP)

    Emirates Team New Zealand struck back to take the first race on the Great Sound today (Photograph by Gregory Bull/AP)


America’s Cup Match, presented by Louis Vuitton

Race 8: Emirates Team New Zealand beat Oracle Team USA by 0:30

Team New Zealand gave Oracle a sailing lesson today. Peter Burling and crew sailed a flawless second race to take their seventh win in Bermuda’s America’s Cup. Now it is Match Point for the Kiwi team at 6-1 after the -1 point adjustment carried in from Oracle’s Qualifying win.

Oracle entered the box for the pre-start on port tack. New Zealand entered ten seconds later on starboard.

Spithill entered the box at 33 knots and blasted upwind to the northwest corner of the box. Oracle looked to be the aggressor. Burling stayed in the middle and when Oracle came back he tacked in a loop around Oracle and then put the pedal down to get the hook on the Americans by ducking behind 17 and coming up just a few metres to leeward. Burling took control and drove Oracle away from the line and the Oracle were pushed upwind and stalled completely. Burling turned to the line and never looked back.

New Zealand led at Mark 1 by 12 seconds. They controlled the race from start to finish.

Going downwind Oracle lost 50 to 80 metres with a bad first gybe they could not afford to make. Team USA did one more gybe than New Zealand going down to Mark 2.

Going upwind, Oracle were closing the gap when they made another wet gybe. Then they compounded that error by sailing beyond the boundary, taking an out-of-bounds penalty. Two more boat lengths for the Kiwis. This allowed New Zealand to extend the lead to 36 seconds. Unforced errors killed Oracle today.

At the downwind mark Oracle did another really wet gybe and parked 17 again. They were 37 seconds behind the Kiwis before they stopped and then they lost more. The unforced errors were piling up for Team USA.

The Kiwi boys covered and made smooth tacks upwind. New Zealand looked like they were flying on instruments, auto-pilot.

New Zealand led going onto Leg 6 some 43 seconds ahead.

Turning onto the final leg 31 seconds ahead, the Kiwis just cruised their way to victory by 30 seconds over Team USA. With 100 per cent fly time, New Zealand moved on to Match point.

The Kiwis had started a full 40 seconds earlier than Oracle, according to Burling. He explained that they got a full foiling tack around Oracle coming back and were able to get the hook at the start. “Full credit to the guys.” Burling said.

Spithill said: “We’ll take it one race at a time.”

Oracle are six down and are being schooled in starting and tactics and speed in and out of the tacks and in straight line speed, too.

Emirates Team New Zealand lead Oracle Team USA 5-1

Race 7: Emirates Team New Zealand beat Oracle Team USA by 0:12

New Zealand entered on port tack for this race with Oracle on starboard ten seconds later.

The boats went into the pre-start with the defender coming in a little late. The two went for the leeward lay line and New Zealand led back to the line as leeward boat. They drove Oracle off the line then quickly headed down to the blast reach and took off to the line first, two seconds ahead. The Kiwis led the sprint to Mark 1.

Downwind the Kiwis were 67 metres ahead at the boundary for the first gybe. The Kiwis came out of their final gybe a knot faster near the gate. They extended their lead in that smooth, fast turn.

Going upwind, the Kiwis covered by tacking to go the same direction as Oracle. They stayed on top of Oracle to protect their lead, something they did not do in Race 6.

On the next tack for Oracle, New Zealand kept going to the left and let Oracle split away. Either they saw a puff or shift on the water or were lucky. The Kiwis picked up some pressure and extended their lead to over 200 metres. They could now afford to put on a real match-race cover on Oracle to cut off any passing lanes.

The Kiwis went onto Leg 4 with a 314m lead, but Oracle closed it up to 280m. Team USA were looking for a chance to get back into the race, looking for those dark patches on the water and trying to connect the wind dots to make some gains.

New Zealand stretched it out again, taking the left hand mark and Oracle took the right hand side to split and look for a chance as the breeze was dying. This was the last upwind leg. The Kiwis tacked to cover and kept that loose cover going. Oracle was still in touch, but the Kiwis were protecting their position.

New Zealand headed downwind at over 30 knots on to Leg 6 with a 35sec lead. At the downwind gate on to the finish legs making one of the best gybes they made in the whole race.

Kiwis picked up point 5 by a 12-second margin over Oracle.

New Zealand helsman Peter Burling said: “We’re happy with it. We were within a metre of the line at our start.”

The Kiwi tech team have given them a great package.

Oracle skipper Jimmy Spithill admitted: “We pulled the trigger [on the start] a little late.”

Emirates Team New Zealand lead Oracle Team USA 6-1

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Published Jun 25, 2017 at 2:54 pm (Updated Jun 25, 2017 at 8:17 pm)

Team New Zealand on match point

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