Can Team NZ extend America’s Cup lead?

“Hat’s off to those guys today, they sailed clean and smart”, Spithill said after the race, adding that the USA team bankrolled by Oracle founder Larry Ellison would fight to the end and had staged a comeback from a similar position before.The US team have spent the week working on making improvements to their 50-foot foiling catamaran in an effort to match the superior speed of their rivals, who are using a revolutionary cycling system with which their sailors provide the power needed to control the boat.”We know we can do this”, he said.“We felt like we gave away that last race a bit, but it is great to see a little fight out of these boys, ” Burling added.Olympic gold medallist Burling recorded two sharp starts, narrowly edging the Americans in race seven before batting to a tense 12sec win. The US win means the racing will now go into today or beyond.Today dawned with lighter winds than yesterday, but Emirates Team NZ helmsman Peter Burling controlled the pre-start and led rival Jimmy Spithill across the line by about a boat length, holding a three-second margin at the first mark.”It makes life a little easier when you get off the start 14 seconds ahead”, said Burling, who some thought would struggle when matching wits with two-time Cup victor Spithill.None of this seems to have rattled Burling, despite a capsize in a semi-final race which almost ended the Kiwi dream.The margin of 2 minutes, 4 seconds was the biggest of the match.The US team, backed by tech billionaire Larry Ellison, erased an 8-1 deficit four years ago to stun New Zealand 9-8 in San Francisco.And when the salt spray had settled, Emirates Team New Zealand, by virtue of a victory in the day’s first of two races, maintained a 4-1 lead over the American boat in the 35th edition of the America’s Cup. You see the team’s pumped up now.It was clearly a must-win situation for Oracle Team USA.”We just really have to take this one race at a time now”. Before the racing began on Saturday, Oracle skipper Jimmy Spithill said they’d indeed made significant alterations in the set-up of the boat.Oracles frustration was perhaps best summed up in the eighth race after they sailed across the boundary on the first beat and picked up a penalty, which enabled the Kiwis to stretch their advantage.On Sunday, Spithill, aiming for a third straight cup victory, threw in a slight swerve as the catamarans headed side-by-side for the startline, allowing Burling to blast across the line one second faster. Under pressure, they folded in that race.