ORACLE TEAM USA staring down match point

Hamilton (BDA) - 35th America's Cup Bermuda 2017 - ORACLE TEAM USA
photo: Sam Greenfield
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Bermuda (BDA) - 35th America's Cup 2017 - 35th America's Cup 2017 Presented by Louis Vuitton, Day
photo: Gilles Martin-Raget
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Bermuda (BDA) - 35th America's Cup 2017 - 35th America's Cup 2017 Presented by Louis Vuitton, Day
photo: Sander van der Borch
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Bermuda (BDA) - 35th America's Cup Match presented by Louis Vuitton, Day 4 ¬&# ACEA 2017 / Photo Gilles Martin-Raget image4 Bermuda (BDA) - 35th America's Cup 2017 - 35th America's Cup 2017 Presented by Louis Vuitton, Day
photo: Gilles Martin-Raget
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With Jimmy Spithill’s ORACLE TEAM USA winning the sixth race of the America’s Cup Match on Bermuda’s Great Sound on Saturday to get its first point on the scoreboard, anticipation was heightened for close racing on Sunday.

But it didn’t work out that way.

With an advantage off the startline in both races, challenger Emirates Team New Zealand was able to comfortably protect a leading position around the race course following both starts to earn two wins and extend its advantage in the series to 6-1.

The first team to earn 7 points will win the America’s Cup.

The defending champion, ORACLE TEAM USA, is now facing match point for the 35th America’s Cup.

It’s a position the team is familiar with. In 2013, the American defender famously ‘stared down the barrel of the gun’ as skipper Jimmy Spithill led a comeback for the ages turning an 8-1 deficit into a 9-8 win. Then too, it was Team New Zealand holding the lead.

“This isn’t a position you would choose to be in,” Spithill admitted. “But the fact is, we’re here. And so the question now becomes, what are you going to do about it? And I know our team. There is no quit. We will keep fighting to the end.

“We know we can beat these guys. We’ve done it before. We’re not looking to win six races all at once. Our job is simple – win one race at a time.”

Two races are scheduled on Monday afternoon on Bermuda’s Great Sound race course.


America’s Cup Match – Race Seven Report

Conditions for racing on Sunday were similar to those of Saturday, with a Southerly wind in the 9-10 knot range for the first race of the day.

There was less engagement in the pre-start to this race with ORACLE TEAM USA skipper Jimmy Spithill taking up position to windward of the New Zealand boat. But with just a few seconds to go to the start, Spithill took a late little jog to weather and that meant the team trailed across the starting line by just one-second. Keeping the pressure on, by the bottom gate the Kiwi lead was just five-seconds.

ORACLE TEAM USA followed the Kiwis through the gate and it took three tacks to break a tight cover. Spithill and tactician Slingsby broke free to the right hand side of the race course, but it didn’t pay, with New Zealand finding more wind on the left and extending its lead. The Kiwis again took up a covering position, but now with a larger lead.

By the first upwind gate, New Zealand had extended to a 32-second lead. But ORACLE TEAM USA found more pressure with a split at the top and began to close the gap early on the leg. But after the first gybe, New Zealand had the wind advantage and extended out to a 40-second lead. Although ORACLE TEAM USA closed the gap dramatically on the final legs, the Kiwis held on to take a 5-1 lead in the series with a 12-second win.

Crew list for Race Seven:

Skipper / Helmsman -- Jimmy Spithill
Wing Trimmer -- Kyle Langford
Tactician / Grinder -- Tom Slingsby
Grinder -- Louis Sinclair
Grinder – Sam Newton
Grinder -- Ky Hurst


America’s Cup Match – Race Eight Report

ORACLE TEAM USA found itself slow and vulnerable in this pre-start, and the Kiwis took advantage, swooping in for a hook and a luff that left Spithill and crew trailing into mark one by 12-seconds.

Spithill and Slingsby engineered a split at the bottom gate but Team New Zealand soon came over to blanket the American defender in a tight cover the rest of the way up the beat.

Team New Zealand was able to protect from there and is now on match point, leading 6-1.

"We couldn’t avoid the hook and from there it was very difficult to catch them," Spithill said after the race.

"But you have take your hat off to those guys, they sailed well."

Crew list for Race Eight:

Skipper / Helmsman -- Jimmy Spithill
Wing Trimmer -- Kyle Langford
Tactician / Grinder -- Tom Slingsby
Grinder -- Cooper Dressler
Grinder – Sam Newton
Grinder -- Graeme Spence

 

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