Published: Sun, June 04, 2017
Sport | By Gary Shelton

Jimmy Spithill continues mind games, claims a 'leak' in Team NZ camp

Jimmy Spithill continues mind games, claims a 'leak' in Team NZ camp

Emirates Team New Zealand became the first team to complete an entire America's Cup race without their hulls touching the water on Friday as they knocked out Groupama Team France.

By gate 5 Oracle Team USA's lead was 25 seconds and in the final stages of the race they managed to increase that advantage slightly, ultimately crossing the finish line 36 seconds ahead of Land Rover BAR.

Spithill hailed the impact of Tom Slingsby, Oracles tactician, while taking a dig at Team New Zealands tactical set-up.

"I don't think we have been consistent enough throughout the qualifying stage and so we will all be working hard to get the best out of what is available to us", said Spithill.

"We need to be faster to win this America's Cup".

The winners of the best-of-nine series will meet for the right to face two-time defending champion Oracle Team USA in the America's Cup match beginning June 17. That helped kill the drama in a rematch of the teams that met in the epic 2013 America's Cup match.

Faced with the opportunity of taking on Artemis Racing, SoftBank Team Japan or Land Rover BAR, Emirates Team New Zealand helmsman Peter Burling finally ended the anticipation by revealing his answer at the final press conference of the qualifiers.

Sir Ben Ainslie and Land Rover BAR sailed smoothly throughout the race but, having fallen behind their opponents at the start, the British team could never quite close the gap as the race progressed. The Kiwis reached match point at 8-1 and was way ahead in what would have been the deciding race, but it was abandoned after the time limit expired on a fluky day on San Francisco Bay.

Oracle Team USA helmsan Jimmy Spithill says Team NZ have made "fundamental mistakes" in both of the races between the two boats.

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Jimmy Spithill's U.S. crew now progress straight to the main event, where they'll start with a one race advantage thanks to their overall win in the qualifiers.

New Zealand's victories over SoftBank Team Japan and France saw them surpass holders Oracle Team USA atop the standings with eight points.

The Kiwis later committed an unforced penalty when it strayed across the course boundary and had to slow again.

Team USA remained stuck on seven points as they were handed just their second defeat of the competition by Artemis Racing of Sweden.

The only setbacks they've suffered in Bermuda are their two losses to Artemis Racing, the Swedish outfit, but skipper Jimmy Spithill and his team will definitely not be anxious about how they're tracking.

Despite losing their final race of the qualifying series to Team USA on Sunday (NZT), the Kiwi syndicate finished first among the challengers.

The New Zealand choice leaves Sweden's Artemis Racing and SoftBank Team Japan as the other head-to-head semi-final.

A late entry into the Louis Vuitton America's Cup World Series and lacking similar financial backing to their opponents, Dean Barker nonetheless demonstrated his vast experience and tactical nous to engineer an opening day win over Land Rover BAR.

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