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

20 June 2017

Oracle earned a bonus point for winning the qualifiers, but it was actually a negative point for the Kiwis, so the first-race win merely erased that. "It's not over. We've got five days now, very important days".

They also benefitted from the luck of the wind Gods when what could have been the decisive race was scratched because it was over the time limit due to light airs. Spithill said during Sunday's (Monday NZ time) post-race press conference they would be open to copying elements from Team NZ and this may be an area they want to analyse.

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.

“Nothing will escape our eyes, I can guarantee you that in these next five days; whether its system-related, whether its appendage-related, sailing technique, strategy — were going to look at everything.

Foil Design: All the teams, apart from the Kiwis, have gone for a smooth L-shaped foil with either a straight horizontal element (or arm) or a slight curve. As both boats headed towards the turn the gap was down to just over three seconds, and it looked like the U.S. team might record their first win of the America's Cup Match, presented by Louis Vuitton, but it was not to be.

"We're a very candid group", he said.

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Wing trimmer Blair Tuke admitted they felt in full control.

With no racing scheduled until next weekend, Oracle intend to take advantage of the opportunity to iron out the kinks to get their campaign back on track.

Burling said that will be the team's approach over the next five days.

When travelling at up to 30 knots upwind, with 50+ knots of apparent wind over the deck, this makes a major difference.

Can the Americans make their crew positions more aerodynamic?

"I think what happened is that we lost a rudder", revealed Spithill, reflecting on the manoeuvre that all but ended their challenge.

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Overall the Kiwis have taken a different approach to the other teams on a number of key aspects and it's proving to be a better all-round package.

Emirates Team New Zealand, right, leads Oracle Team USA, left, during the fourth race of America's Cup competition, Sunday, June 18, 2017, in Hamilton, Bermuda. With the "conventional" setup the majority of the sailing skill falls on the shoulders of Jimmy Spithill and it is quite possibly too much for one man to do, whatever their credentials.

Still, this isn't the start the powerhouse Oracle squad expected.

It was the start which set up victory in race one, Emirates Team New Zealand driving Spithill over the line early with Oracle penalised.

However, Spithill is not pushing the panic button just yet — and for good reason.

The 26-year-old Burling is an America's Cup rookie. Racing resumes on Saturday.

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