Published: Wed, June 28, 2017
World | By Paul Elliott

US secure first win of America's Cup, trail New Zealand 4-1

Skipper Jimmy Spithill says Oracle Team USA will consider every option to keep its America's Cup defence alive, including replacing him at the helm.

The US win in the second race of the day gave the team backed by billionaire Oracle founder Larry Ellison hope of another comeback against New Zealand.

Oracle Team USA were punished for crossing the start line too early and again when the boats crossed for a second time just after they had taken the lead on leg 3/7, paving the way for Emirates Team New Zealand to seal another win. "But a misjudgement on the final beat let the Americans back in and they raced away for an 11" win.

Spithill has been here before.

Even after losing two races on Sunday, Spithill was not in any mood to give up, conceding that the US crew had been outsailed by Burling and his five Kiwi team mates, but vowing to come out fighting again on Monday and take one race at a time.

You see the team's pumped up now. We're really happy with the lead we have got and we'll come back stronger, expecting a really great battle in the coming races.

Team NZ lead the America's Cup finals series 6-1 in Bermuda.

That setback was followed by a poor jibe that saw the United States of America come off their foils, ending their hopes of catching New Zealand again. Near the top of the course, it was still very close, with a split at the gate and a 12-second lead to Spithill.

"It does remind me of San Francisco when, once the guys can see that the boat is faster, then you start building some momentum".

Under pressure in the shifty winds, Oracle produced a series of mistakes that further doomed their chances, including a penalty for sailing through the boundary and a splash-down off their foils that saw them slow dramatically.

Finally, another dominant display by Burling and the New Zealand team culminated in a 30 second win in race eight over Oracle Team USA, putting them on the brink of winning the 35th America's Cup. Now he's closing in on adding his name to a list of America's Cup winners that includes Dennis Conner, fellow New Zealander Russell Coutts and Ted Turner.

Even with the wide margin in Race 5, Oracle Team USA looked faster than it did in getting humbled in four races last weekend.

Their "cyclors", including an Olympic cycling medallist, have kept their heads down throughout the contest, pedalling furiously to provide enough oil in the system to allow the boat to perform nearly balletic pirouette manoeuvres on the water.

Despite starting the series with a one-point deficit (due to U.S. victory in round-robin qualifying), New Zealand need just one more win to seal glory.

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