Kiwis lay down challenge in America’s Cup

Jimmy Spithill, the Oracle Team USA skipper, said it is far too early to write off his team who have yet to get off the mark in their Americas Cup defence against challenger Emirates Teams New Zealand. The Americans had gone in with a one-point advantage thanks to topping the qualifying round-robin.Team New Zealand needs four wins, Oracle TeamUSA seven.Australian Spithill’s Oracle team now faces an uphill battle to win the 35th edition of the competition, where the trophy is earned by the first team to reach seven points.With the racing being held on the weekends in Bermuda, there is now five-days before race five and six.”We’re really excited about the challenge of the next five days, of taking the next step on our boat as well of pushing the performance”, said the 26-year-old Kiwi, who has spoken repeatedly of the steep learning curve faced by all the teams racing the America’s Cup catamarans.”We’ve still got plenty of things to work on the boat over the next few days, so it gives us the opportunity to keep developing as well”.”I think we’re going to see one of the best sporting events of the year here over the next two weekends”, said Spithill.Oracle does have history on its side.Team New Zealand helmsman Peter Burling believes the Kiwi syndicate are not even close to tapping out the potential in their race boat.Smack talk is hardly new in the America’s Cup. The team is hungry and a very, very competitive group.”We need to go back and use those days wisely”.”Look, I really try and portray the team”, Spithill said Friday after he and Burling posed with the America’s Cup.”We’ve proved we can win races against these guys”.But the light winds also made for very tricky conditions which produced a heart-stopping moment for the Kiwis when they ran out of breeze and sank off the foils with the finish in sight. The Kiwis used the same foils they did in speeding to two victories on Saturday while the American-backed crew appeared to use two different foils.The always-crafty Kiwis are using a “cyclor” grinding system. 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. He has won Olympic gold and silver medals with grinder Blair Tuke.Races 3 and 4 are scheduled Sunday.That’s a big enough deficit against a New Zealand catamaran that has consistently out-performed Oracle. No need to remember your password or log in, just click.”We know if we stand still, they’ll catch us”. “We’re not going to hide from the truth”.A win by 49 seconds in race three was bettered by a winning margin of 1min 12sec in race four as the the boat helmed by Peter Burling charged to within four wins of lifting the Auld Mug.