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Saturday, June 17, 2017

Emirates Team New Zealand Dominate on Day One - America's Cup

Peter Burling and Emirates Team New Zealand are in the lead after the first day of racing in the America’s Cup Match. The Kiwi Challengers smoked Jimmy Spithill’s Oracle Team USA by taking back-to-back victories in the first two races, putting them in a 1-0 lead over the Defenders.
Photo: © 2017 ACEA/ Photo Ricardo Pinto
The first race victory of the day from the Kiwis put the scores at 0-0 as Jimmy Spithill’s team started the America’s Cup Match with a one point advantage over their rivals, having won the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup Qualifiers. Their second victory of the day put the Kiwis into an end-of-day-one lead of one point, with Oracle Team USA yet to score.
Photo: © 2017 ACEA/ Photo Ricardo Pinto
“Everyone connected to our team has been working incredibly hard to try and give us a fast boat and it is incredible to be able to reward them with two victories today,” Burling said.
Photo: © 2017 ACEA/ Photo Ricardo Pinto
“Jimmy (Spithill) and Oracle Team USA sailed really well to put us under a lot of pressure, but we managed to keep our composure and sail really well.We’ve said all along that we are learning all the time and although we won both races we got a lot wrong and made too many mistakes today," he added.
Photo: © 2017 ACEA/ Photo Ricardo Pinto
“We will go away and look at what we need to improve because we all know for a fact that Jimmy (Spithill) won’t give up and so we have to keep progressing.We’ve known all along that to win the America’s Cup we had to win eight races and so to get two wins on the board already is fantastic. We’ll keep battling away and aim to get the remaining six wins needed as soon as possible.”
Photo: © ACEA 2017 / Photo Sander van der Borch
Despite relinquishing a one point advantage they held at the beginning of the day, Oracle Team USA helmsman Jimmy Spithill remains stellar.
Photo: © ACEA 2017 / Photo Sander van der Borch
“We’re obviously disappointed with what was a tough day, but the deficit is only one point so we we’re not panicking. Clearly we didn’t sail our best today, but we still had opportunities and that is what we will take away with us," Spithill said.
Photo: © ACEA 2017 / Photo Sander van der Borch
“It is too early to draw conclusions on what went wrong for us but we will go away and look at what we have to change ahead of tomorrow. Credit to Peter (Burling) and Emirates Team New Zealand because they made fewer mistakes to win both races. However, I’ve been here before, and it is still only a point,” he added.

Race One
Photo: © 2017 ACEA/ Photo Ricardo Pinto
In the first race Oracle Team USA made the worst possible start to their defence of the Cup when they were handed a penalty for crossing the start line fractionally early.
Photo: © ACEA 2017 / Photo Gilles Martin-Raget
“We had a little issue on board during the first start. We thought we were coming back when we wanted to but as it turned out we were wrong, it is something we will have to go back and look at. We basically handed that first race to them,” Spithill said.
Photo: © 2017 ACEA/ Photo Ricardo Pinto
The penalty was pure gold for Emirates Team New Zealand and Burling took full advantage by sailing well clear of his rival with a 32 second lead by the turn at the second gate. In relatively light winds, Burling continued to sail smoothly, extending the Kiwis’ advantage to a healthy margin of one minute and 52 seconds over their rivals by the fifth gate.
Photo: © 2017 ACEA/ Photo Ricardo Pinto
However, Burling did not have it all his own way and two misjudged manoeuvres reduced Emirates Team New Zealand’s advantage handing Spithill a sliver of hope of catching the Kiwis in the closing stages.
Photo: © ACEA 2017 / Photo Sander van der Borch
There was no late challenge and Burling’s team crossed the finish line 30 seconds ahead of OTUSA, wiping out the minus one point deficit to the Defenders and levelling the overall scores to 0-0 ahead of race two.
Photo: © ACEA 2017 / Photo Sander van der Borch
“It was an incredibly tricky day out there with the winds and they certainly weren’t our best manoeuvres.If you make a small mistake it can prove a costly one,” Burling said.

Race Two
Photo: © ACEA 2017 / Photo Gilles Martin-Raget
Having cut the point deficit, Peter Burling and Emirates Team New Zealand  continued their momentum of victory in the first race by again beating Spithill’s Oracle Team USA over the start line.
Race two was much closer than race one, but Emirates Team New Zealand were still able to pull clear, establishing a lead of up to one minute, 34 seconds by the time they rounded mark four.
Photo: © ACEA 2017 / Photo Gilles Martin-Raget
Emirates Team New Zealand gave their rivals a glimmer of hope in the closing stages as OTUSA dramatically cut the gap to Emirates Team New Zealand on the run to the fifth mark. As both boats headed towards the turn the gap was reduced to just over three seconds, and it looked like the US team might record their first win of the America’s Cup Match but it was not to be.
Photo: © ACEA 2017 / Photo Sander van der Borch
“Half way up that second beat we definitely lost a lot and we have to go away and keep learning and improving,” Burling said.
Photo: © ACEA 2017 / Photo Gilles Martin-Raget
Having closed the gap, Oracle Team USA’s yacht came down off its foils and that gave Emirates Team New Zealand the chance to re-establish their lead.
Photo: © ACEA 2017 / Photo Sander van der Borch
“I think what happened is that we lost a rudder. We’ll have to go back and look at that because it was obviously a key moment in the race,” said Spithill.
Photo: © ACEA 2017 / Photo Sander van der Borch
With the pressure taken off, Burling guided his team around the sixth and final gate and crossed the finish line one minute and 28 seconds ahead of Oracle Team USA to take their second successive win of the day and a one point advantage in the match.

America’s Cup Match, presented by Louis Vuitton, Race Results

Race One: Emirates Team New Zealand beat Oracle Team USA by 30 seconds.
Race Two: Emirates Team New Zealand beat Oracle Team USA by 1 minute and 28 seconds.

America’s Cup Match, presented by Louis Vuitton, Scores (17th June 2017)

Emirates Team New Zealand: 1 point*
Oracle Team USA: 0 points

* Emirates Team New Zealand started the America’s Cup Match, presented by Louis Vuitton -1 due to ORACLE TEAM USA’s win in the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup Qualifiers

Lulu Roseman 

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