Sailing: Winds of change for America's Cup in Bermuda Triangle

Posted June 26, 2017

Oracle Team USA won the cup in 2013 in San Francisco after staging one of the most astonishing sporting comebacks against New Zealand, winning 9-8 after having been 1-8 down.

That may rest with Team New Zealand, which led the defender Oracle Team USA 3-0 after the opening weekend and is committed to taking the event to Auckland if it wins.

Oracle's leader Jimmy Spithill says he hasn't ruled out stepping down from his role as skipper as his team scramble to keep their America's Cup hopes alive.

Burling said later he was merely pleased that he nailed the maneuver that allowed the Kiwis to sail away to its second win Sunday on the Great Sound and reach match point in sailing's marquee regatta at 6-1.

"We would have to see the details. but on the basis of location its not a game changer".

"This is clearly a time where you could potentially split apart and when the boys got ashore they just pulled in everyone in tight and said, "look, they haven't handed over the trophy yet". "Obviously we're not sailing it as well as we should be".

Spithill returned fire, hinting that the Kiwis had been complacent over the rest days.

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.

Burling could become the youngest helmsman to win sailing's greatest prize.

"We're comfortable with where we stand", Mr Dunkley said.

"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.

"It's no secret we've faced a lot of adversity to get here, we capsized our boat under three weeks ago and we're still just getting on top of everything".

Burling, who has won Olympic gold and silver medals with Team New Zealand crewmate Blair Tuke, got in a zinger of his own, saying about Oracle, "It's great to see a bit of fight out of these boys". The result was five boat-length lead to ETNZ at the start and Spithill's confidence was gone.

Oracle Team USA, right, races Emirates Team New Zealand during the fifth race of America's Cup sailing competition Saturday, June 24, 2017, in Hamilton, Bermuda.

Underfunded Team New Zealand nearly folded after the 2013 debacle, but has bounced back with a remarkably fast boat design that includes a radical cycling grinding system, and spot on crew maneuvers.

At gate four Spithill took a gamble, jibing in the run up to the next gate, but it proved to be an error and Burling took the shorter course to the gate to edge ahead of his rival.

After a five-day break, the showdown between 50-foot foiling catamarans resumes with two races Saturday, if there's enough wind, and two Sunday.