America’s Cup - Sport

Kiwis must refocus after Oracle upgrades

  • Team New Zealand’s hopes of a whitewash claim splashing down yesterday when Oracle took Race 6 (Photograph by Gregory Bull/AP)

Oracle Team USA’s upgrades seemed to have paid off with some additional speed in Matches 5 and 6, the first races after the five-day layoff. However, an error at the start and a failure to keep clear penalty made the difference in Race 5.

In Race 6 it was Emirates Team New Zealand’s failure to cover on the last upwind leg. Oracle came back and after leading at Marks 1 and 2 for the first time in the America’s Cup Match presented by Louis Vuitton, New Zealand passed them upwind. Oracle took the lead on the final upwind leg and the reach to the finish.

Oracle finished Race 6 ahead by six seconds to take their first point in the 35th America’s Cup.

Oracle skipper Jimmy Spithill said: “This is just what the boys needed, It was a good improvement in speed. We had improvement in technique as well.”

Oracle’s average speed was 26.71 knots and New Zealand had 26.65. The Americans sailed a course distance of 4489.6 metres and New Zealand sailed 4249 metres. New Zealand tacked and gybed 17 times to Oracle’s 19.

It will take some careful analysis for the teams to figure out why they won or lost. Perhaps it comes down to positioning on the course and match race tactics. Spithill is thought to have the edge there.

Can this be the beginning of the Oracle comeback? In AC 34 it was 8-0 and now it is only 4-1.

Team New Zealand must refocus and correct their sailing errors from yesterday.

Weather prediction

Forecasters expect a west southwest breeze at anywhere from four to eight knots. Whatever breeze there is will be flowing over and around Scaur Hill. That will make it another shifty day with varying pressure across the course. If winds are above the low range cut-off, there will be some passing opportunities.