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Ashby's flying start in America's Cup final

22 June 2017

Ashby, the skipper of Team New Zealand, led the Kiwis to a 3-0 lead in the first to seven wins series in Bermuda.

Both cartoons were drawn by San Francisco artist Elena Achilli, the first one apparently after Spithill skippered Oracle Team USA to one of the greatest comebacks in sports by winning eight straight races after being down 8-1 in 2013 on San Francisco Bay to retain the oldest trophy in worldwide sports.

“I think its pretty obvious these guys are faster and we need to make some serious changes, ” a glum-looking Spithill said.

Two weeks ago, even before Team New Zealand had clinched a spot in the final, Spithill said at a news conference that the Kiwis made fundamental mistakes in losing two races in the round robins to Oracle.

Spithill vowed that from today to Friday the entire U.S. team - from boat builders, designers, engineers and crew - would be working round the clock in a bid to catch up. Emirates Team New Zealand faces Oracle Team USA in the America's Cup sailing m.

Ainslie mounted a British bid for the Cup this year that ended in the challenger semi-finals, but Spithill indicated a crew change could again be up for discussion.

The most pleasing aspect for the Kiwis was the speed of their boat in the light conditions of seven to ten knots, Aotearoa New Zealand consistently quicker than the Americans.

From 8-1 down and facing match point, Larry Ellison's defending champions won eight races in a row to triumph 9-8.

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New Zealand are closing in on winning the America's Cup, having claimed four of the eight races they need to recapture the world's oldest global sporting competition.

Fellow Aussie John Bertrand, who beat Dennis Conner in 1983 to end the New York Yacht Club's 132-year America's Cup winning streak, said Spithill "is confident in that space".

The always-crafty Kiwis are using a “cyclor” grinding system.

"We've proved we can win races against these guys".

Meanwhile, here is New Zealand cyclor Simon Van Velthooven, who won a bronze medal in the Men's Keirin at London 2012, to explain why light winds equal hard grind for the boat's muscle men. They have built four stationary cycling stations into each hull to tap leg power instead of traditional arm power from the grinders to power the hydraulic systems that control the wing mainsail and the daggerboards.

"The margin blew out once more and at one stage Emirates Team New Zealand were ahead by 1'35", only to see the Americans find pressure and storm back to close within three seconds at mark five.

In Race 4, the Kiwis held a slim lead at the first mark and simply sped away.

Ashby's flying start in America's Cup final