Burling, Kiwis beat Oracle third time in America's Cup

Rival helmsmen Peter Burling and Jimmy Spithill with the prize on offer in Bermuda

REUTERS Rival helmsmen Peter Burling and Jimmy Spithill with the prize on offer in Bermuda

Team New Zealand admit they couldn't have asked for a better start to the America's Cup final after opening up a 3-0 lead on defenders Team USA. Oracle won a bonus point for winning the qualifiers, but it was actually a negative point for the Kiwis.

For a few dramatic minutes, it looked like Spithill was going to salvage a split of Saturday's races.

Well-funded Oracle Team USA - Ellison is worth an estimated $55 billion - has five days to come up with some answers to try to counter the spot-on design innovations by the scrappy, underfunded Kiwis, who almost folded after their epic collapse in the 2013 America's Cup on San Francisco Bay.

And then, saying he had a "leak" in the Kiwi camp, Spithill upstaged Burling when he said the Kiwis would pick Britain as their challenger semifinal opponent.

"I think what happened is that we lost a rudder", revealed Spithill, reflecting on the manoeuvre that all but ended their challenge. Were not happy with the way we sailed today, although were really pleased with the outcome.”.

"If you go to the sponsor now and you tell them we don't know where the competition is, which boat or how much money we need, we can not sell anything", Cammas said.

Oracle does have history on its side.

Despite relinquishing the point advantage they held at the beginning of yesterday, Oracle Team USA helmsman Jimmy Spithill is refusing to panic, especially with the experience of overturning an 8-1 deficit to the same opposition in 2013. Coutts successfully defended the America's Cup in 2000 before jumping to Swiss startup syndicate Alinghi of Switzerland and sweeping his former team in 2003.

The 37-year-old Australian skipper of Oracle Team USA will take on all comers, whether it's from behind the wheel of his fast catamaran in the America's Cup, in a boxing ring or via lethal mind games at news conferences.

After all, the 2013 America's Cup proved that no lead is safe.

"Oracle will be good for the future of the America's Cup itself", the French skipper said. Out team's really hungry to keep learning, keep moving forward, keep improving. "And we're under no illusions the other guys are not going to give us a break".

But the Kiwis later came off their foils during a hard maneuver and slowed dramatically in the tough conditions, losing half their lead. The Kiwis used the same foils they did in speeding to two victories Saturday while the American-backed crew appeared to use two different foils.

The always-crafty Kiwis are using a "cyclor" grinding system. We got a couple of good squirts downwind which certainly helped us.

"I think it just shows that you guys will fall for anything", Spithill chuckled. But we know that. "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".

A win by 49 seconds in race three was bettered by a winning margin of 1min 12sec in race four as the the boat helmed by Peter Burling charged to within four wins of lifting the Auld Mug.

"But to pull off that last tack and get around that mark first definitely sealed that last race for us".

Oracle Team USA, left, races Emirates Team New Zealand during the third race of America's Cup competition Sunday, June 18, 2017, in Hamilton, Bermuda.

The penalty handed the initiative to Emirates Team New Zealand, and Peter Burling took full advantage, sailing well clear of his rival Spithill, holding a 32 second lead by the turn at the second gate.

It was an nearly totally dominant display from Emirates Team NZ helmsman Peter Burling, who had the better of counterpart Jimmy Spithill throughout the opening exchanges, winning both starts and overcoming slight lapses late in both races.

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