Sailing-New Zealand reach match point against United States in America's Cup

Day four of the America's Cup Match, presented by Louis Vuitton, belonged firmly to Peter Burling and the New Zealand team who comfortably won the two scheduled races of the day, races seven and eight of the final stage of the 35th America's Cup.

Team NZ has won five races but began with a negative point because Team US won the qualifiers.

"I'm just a small part of a massive team", Burling said. "We've been there before". That was the key thing That's why today was very, very important.

"That's why today was very, very important".

Today (June 26), they'll try to claim the Cup for New Zealand for a third time, after Black Magic's victories in 1995 and 2000. It was a simple move made to precision: the Kiwi's got to leeward of the Americans and took them head to wind.

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

Things started badly on Saturday for the U.S. team as they were a fraction of a second over the line at the start of the first race, picking up a penalty which left them trailing.

After racing, as Spithill promised, the team returned the Great Sound for more testing after a short break for the press conference and to make some adjustments and changes to the boat.

"If we think the team's got a better chance with me off the wheel, no problem".

The Kiwis now need only one more victory to bring the Cup home to Auckland for the first time since 2003, when they lost the trophy to an Alinghi team skippered by countryman Russell Coutts, the driving force behind both this year's Cup match and Oracle Team USA. "They made fewer mistakes and they deserved to win two races", Spithill said in a nod to the Kiwis.

Team New Zealand, which has been fast in light wind, needs two more victories to lift the oldest trophy in global sports from two-time defending champion Oracle Team USA, which is owned by software tycoon Larry Ellison.

"We changed everything", he said.

Burling could become the youngest helmsman to win sailing's greatest prize.

Spithill said there was a quick crew meeting after Race 8 and he was pleased that the sailors kept their composure.

Sailing - America's Cup finals - Hamilton, Bermuda - June 24, 2017.

"It makes life a little easier when you get off the start 14 seconds ahead", said Burling, who some thought would struggle when matching wits with two-time Cup victor Spithill.

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

  • Wendy Palmer