Burling, Team New Zealand reach match point in America's Cup

Emirates Team New Zealand crosses the finish line to win race three

Emirates Team New Zealand helmsman Peter Burling, above center, runs across the boat with teammates cyclor Blair Tuke, left, and cyclor Simon Van Velthooven, right, during the seventh race of America's Cup sailing competition against Oracle Team USA, Sunday, June 25, 2017, in Hamilton, Bermuda.

Oracle Team USAs upgrades seemed to have paid off with some additional speed in Matches 5 and 6, the first races after the five-day layoff. It would certainly be sweet redemption.

"They deserved to win both of the races because we clearly made far too many mistakes out there".

Even with the wide margin in Race 5, Oracle Team USA looked faster than it did in getting humbled in four races last weekend.

By doing so they could expunge the bitter memory of 2013, when they led Spithill and the U.S. 8-1 before falling 9-8 in San Francisco. "That was certainly a mistake".

In doing so, Burling usurped New Zealand's nemesis, Oracle Team USA skipper Jimmy Spithill, who won the cup in 2010 aged 30 and was hoping for a third successive victory for the syndicate bankrolled by Larry Ellison. Oracle took the lead on the final upwind leg and the reach to the finish.

The clincher could come Monday, when two races are scheduled. The Americans sailed a course distance of 4489.6 metres and New Zealand sailed 4249 metres.

After, what was by their standards, an error-strewn race six yesterday, the Kiwis approached race seven today with lessons clearly well learned overnight.

"On the final downwind stretch the Kiwi boat was giving its fans a few nervous moments as Oracle found pressure and clawed 20" back.

Oracles average speed was 26.71 knots and New Zealand had 26.65.

"We're just going to keep pushing forward", Burling said. In the end, it was an old-fashioned horizon job, putting the New Zealander's at match point in the series.

The message of support comes after Team New Zealand sent one of their own to the All Blacks ahead of their first test against the British and Irish Lions on Saturday.

They built on that with a flawless performance, racing on their foils all the way for a comfortable 30sec win. And in both the day's races, though the boatspeeds were remarkably similar, the Kiwi's sailed hundreds of meters less, meaning they were also surgically efficient.

Despite the growing gap, ORACLE TEAM USA did not give up, continuing to try and claw back the advantage the Kiwis were building, but it was largely to no avail.

Having made changes to their boat since the opening weekend of the America's Cup Match, presented by Louis Vuitton, Jimmy Spithill was asked if there might also be changes to personnel on the ORACLE TEAM USA boat ahead of day five, to which he replied, "Anything is on the table". They simply can not afford to lose another race.

"The plan certainly wasn't to be in this position again, I can assure you of that, but we are here now so it is up to all of us to respond and react". "But here we are".


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