Published: Mon, June 19, 2017
Money | By Armando Alvarado

Kiwis beat Oracle in America's Cup opener in Bermuda

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 need to win four more races to pick up their first America's Cup title since 2003 after two victories opened up a 3-0 lead over Oracle Team USA.

And it was a similar story on Sunday, Peter Burling helping his crew to further victories to secure a 3-0 lead.

But Spithill, trying to pilot the U.S. to a third straight America's Cup title, was seconds early across the startline of race one and the Americans never recovered from the penalty, as Team New Zealand erased the United States boat's one-point advantage to level overall at 0-0.

The New Zealanders are well aware that it is possible not to win the America's Cup despite an early advantage, after being 8-1 up in San Francisco four years ago before losing to Oracle.

A member of Emirates Team New Zealand raises a sail before a sailing training session Friday, June 16, 2017, in Hamilton, Bermuda.

Spithill and ORACLE TEAM USA won the race and the advantage.

We saw back in 2013 that a quick cash injection can fix Oracle's problems, and with five days off before the next racing takes place, don't put it past Team USA and Spithill to bring more of a contest once competition gets back underway on Sunday. Theyve 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.

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But Emirates Team New Zealand was able to live with Oracle Team USA, and after both boats flew to mark 1 nearly level the Kiwi yacht found a click more pace to take the lead.

That's a reference to Spithill being Australian, as are other key decision-makers on the crew of Oracle, which is owned by American software billionaire Larry Ellison.

“This team has been here before, so its not over, ” Spithill said.

Bertrand believes Burling is tough because of his dominance in winning the Olympic gold medal in the 49er class at Rio de Janeiro last summer with Blair Tuke, a Team New Zealand grinder.

We tidied up a lot of those little errors we made yesterday around the course and I think that really showed.

Race 4 was to follow.

We knew it was coming. Whether it's system related, appendage related, sailing technique or strategy, we are going to look at absolutely everything.

As for Oracle's foil selection, "I thought we made a good step forward", Spithill said. But its 50-foot catamaran came off its foils during a bad gybe and buried its bows in the water, allowing the Kiwis to speed back ahead and open a lead of about 300 yards.

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