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

Four years ago, New Zealand were eventually overhauled by an U.S. team that also featured Britain’s Ben Ainslie as tactician in what is regarded as one of sport’s great comebacks.After a laconic performance throughout the America’s Cup campaign to date, Team NZ helmsman Peter Burling was able to land a couple of verbal jabs to the ribs of rival Jimmy Spithill in the wake of Oracle’s first finals win.”We would have to see the details. but on the basis of location its not a game changer”.”We just couldn’t get the hook up at the start”, Spithill said.In the meantime, two more races are scheduled for Sunday.How it happened: look back at RNZ’s live coverage on today’s racing here.That could all change if the US holders are able to turn around a 3-0 Kiwi lead in the first-to-seven competition on Bermuda’s Great Sound when racing resumes this weekend. We felt like we had minimal risk the whole race.”That was exactly what the boys needed- we’ve had a good improvement on our boat speed today and I think another step tomorrow would be great”, a pumped-up Jimmy Spithill, the U.S. skipper, said from onboard his boat after the race.The Kiwis have revolutionized sailing in the 35th America’s Cup, using “cyclors” who pedal to provide the power needed to control the boat’s foils and towering “wing” sail.They could switch roles after the skipper was guilty of several crucial errors as Team NZ recorded victories by 12 seconds and 30 seconds respectively. We obviously had a pretty good edge last weekend, but it shows you, with how you sail the boat and how you mode it for particular wind strength, you can make the boat go significantly faster or slower.”We’re going back on the water (after this press conference) to try something else to change”, he said.”These guys sailed better and made fewer mistakes”.Burling defended the Kiwis taking a few days off. That was the key thing.This is all dictated by the ancient “Deed of Gift” which stipulates the trophy first won in 1851 by the US schooner “America” was to be “a perpetual challenge cup for friendly competition between nations” and allows the victor to take all.Spithill was a fraction early across the line to draw a penalty that handed Burling an instant advantage. Vying to win yachting’s most prestigious trophy for the third successive time, they trail 3-0 in the first-to-seven points series.”I don’t think we sailed that well today, to be honest but we’re really happy with the lead we’ve got”, he said.Although the six-man US crew managed to notch up their first victory of the series on Saturday, and appeared finally to be matching the Kiwis for speed, they were less stable when “foiling” above the water.In the day’s opener, Spithill swerved slightly as the dueling catamarans headed for the start line, allowing Burling to blast across the line with a one-second lead.