«America's Cup Final» : first two days ended in defeat for Oracle Team USA


»Emirates Team New Zealand leads 3-0 at the end of the first two days of the America's Cup finals «. Peter Burling's team has won all four races against the current Cup holders.

The Americans started the competition with a one-point advantage for victory in the match race qualifying series. The Kiwis' first win on Saturday negated that advantage.

After the first two matches lost, Oracle skipper Jimmy Spithill admitted to being «disappointed but not panicking», as the gap is only a point. He said it was too early «to draw conclusions about what went wrong».

The Americans started the first race with a penalty for crossing the start line early. New Zealand did not fail to take advantage of that mistake. By the second gate the Kiwis were able to push their lead over their rivals to 32 seconds. In relatively weak wind conditions the Team NZ catamaran kept going at good speed over the water and by the fifth gate the gap between them and Oracle was 1 minute 52 seconds. A couple of unfortunate Kiwi manoeuvres gave Spithill the opportunity to close the gap somewhat, but no miracle happened as Burling's team crossed the finish line 30 seconds early.

The fight in the second race was much tighter than in the first. Nevertheless, Peter Burling managed to grab the lead at the start and by the fourth gate had increased the lead to one minute and 34 seconds. Nevertheless, as in the first race, the Kiwis gave their rivals a glimmer of hope of victory on the approach to the finish line. On the approach to the fifth mark, Oracle drastically narrowed the gap. At the turn it was just three seconds. It seemed that the Americans would overtake the New Zealanders and win a point, but close to their rivals, they came off the fouls, which gave Emirates Team New Zealand a chance to regain their lead. The Kiwis eventually crossed the finish line a minute and 28 seconds ahead of Oracle.

At the start of the third race the teams were very tight. Team USA managed to cross the starting line a couple of seconds ahead of Team New Zealand. The Americans approached the first gate with a slight advantage, but made an unsuccessful sail flip and went down in the water for a moment. Burling did not fail to take advantage of the mistake. The Kiwis rounded the second mark with an 11-second advantage. By the fifth gate they had increased the gap to 49 seconds and came to the finish almost a minute ahead of the Americans.

The fourth race followed the same pattern as the first: a tight race at the start and the teams crossed the straight and quickly accelerated to 40 knots on the approach to the first gate. It was a flawless race with minimal mistakes for both teams, but the New Zealanders' catamaran proved to be technically more advanced. By the fifth gate the Team NZ lead was a minute. Spithill could only hope for an error from Burling, but he didn't make it.

At the end-of-day conference, the Oracle Team USA skipper was hoping for a five-day break in racing, which will resume on June 24.

«We made a good step up from yesterday, but we need to get more speed from somewhere, that's obvious. If we had to race without a break we would be in big trouble," he admitted. - This break is a huge opportunity for us to regroup. Over the next five days our shore team will explore every aspect of the boat. Nothing will escape our attention, that I can guarantee. Whether it's the operation of the boat's systems, its foils, race technique or strategy, we will be looking at absolutely everything».
All it takes for Team New Zealand to win is eight matches won and half the job is done. Oracle, however, already has experience overcoming seemingly hopeless situations.

In 2013, Oracle Team USA managed to beat Emirates Team New Zealand in the America's Cup final «» , committing, according to many, the greatest comeback in sports history. The Americans were trailing 8-1, but managed to turn this nearly hopeless situation into a 9-8 victory. After the loss the New Zealand team was completely rebuilt. Only sail-wing trimmer Glenn Ashby remained from the old line-up.