Spithill skippers Oracle to 1st win in America's Cup

Emirates Team New Zealand crosses the finish line to win race three

Spithill skippers Oracle to 1st win in America's Cup

The youth cup was fought out on the Great Sound where Emirates Team New Zealand and holders Oracle Team USA are due to resume battle on Saturday for the America's Cup, the oldest trophy in worldwide sport and sailing's most coveted prize.

Team New Zealand needs to win six more races to return the Auld Mug to the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron in Auckland, where it resided from 1995-2003.

The New Zealand team started the competition with a negative point as US won the qualifiers but that didn't prove to be any kind of disadvantage to the ambitions Kiwis team who cleared the first mark in the second game itself.

Five days of development this week appeared to initially amount to little as Team NZ sailed clear in race five on Sunday (NZT).

Coutts was working with the Oracle crew this week to improve its decision-making.

The call could have gone either way but race officials ruled Oracle didn't give Team New Zealand enough space to manoeuvre around their vessel as they crossed. The crew quickly learned to sail the boat better and won eight straight races to complete one of the greatest comebacks in sports.

Twenty-two-year-old Neil Hunter was an initial example of success, promoted from junior to senior team, becoming not only the youngest sailor to compete in the America's Cup but the only sailor to compete in both competitions.

"We would have to see the details. but on the basis of location its not a game changer". He might soon be an Americas Cup champion if the Kiwis astoundingly fast design package, of which the cycling system is just one component, whisks them to victory against two-time defending champion Oracle Team USA.

Oracle came back and won Race 6 by 11 seconds, the closest margin so far. Team USA have already added one cycle station - with tactician Tom Slingsby sometimes seen pedalling.

"I believe we can win this race".

"We changed everything", he said.

"We just approached this like any other race", said Burling afterwards.

Smyth said much of Team New Zealand's advantage was down to sailing and manoeuvring.

Sport Director Hagara noted that nine members of the inaugural Red Bull Youth America's Cup are now on senior America's Cup teams, including Peter Burling, the helmsman of the winning boat in that 2013 youth regatta, who now helms Emirates Team New Zealand. Crucially, they may have been able to make refinements to their boat's setup, in particular to the daggerboard and rudder, which could result in significant speed gains.

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