Superb victory for Team New Zealand

Last updated 09:46 11/09/2013
One Sport

Emirates Team New Zealand thrash Oracle in America's Cup race 5.

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ORACLE DESTROYED: Team New Zealand raced a perfect upwind leg to destroy Oracle in the first of this morning's races.

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Oracle skipper Jimmy Spithill said his team "needed to go away and regroup" as they used their wild card to call off the sixth race of their America's Cup defence today.

The move came after they were thrashed by Team New Zealand in a 1min 5secs come-from-behind win that gives the Kiwis a four wins-to-one lead.

Under the rules both teams have one opportunity to postpone one race during the finals series.

They can do that to cover off breakage or concerns over a lack of performance.

Oracle waved the white flag for the day over their struggling performance and woeful tactics in race five, and Spithill made it clear it was a tactical move.

Team New Zealand came from behind with their trademark upwind speed to destroy the Americans, and that clearly extends to a mental victory.

"We have to go away and regroup," Spithill said.

"They have an edge upwind so we played our card strategically."

Spithill said they hadn't helped themselves with their tactical calls and "we need to address our tacking".

Spithill was in deep discussion with boss Sir Russell Coutts after the day's opening race. Spithill said it was "a team decision" as they informed the umpires.

"We have to take a few steps and be ready for the next race," he said.

A double-header is planned for Friday (NZT) and the postponed race could be held over until Monday.

But the final could be over by then. New Zealand need five more wins to win the Auld Mug and Oracle need 10 more wins to keep it.

This is a huge psychological blow by the Kiwis.

Team New Zealand's mastery upwind played a huge role again today as they crushed Oracle.

It was another amazing turn of events in windy conditions on the bay.

Spithill narrowly won the start from Barker and Oracle showed great speed on the opening reach to get around the first mark 4secs ahead.

The defenders looked powerful going downwind as well and had a lead of about 160 metres at one stage.

But New Zealand fought back and managed to hold Oracle's lead to 10secs at that bottom mark.

And that's where Oracle made a blunder.

They attempted the first foiling tack seen at that mark, trying to head offshore to Alacatraz, but they literally stalled and team New Zealand took full advantage.

They slid past Oracle and then showed their superior speed and tacking ability, gaining big leads on every turn as they criss-crossed their way back up the course.

By the time they reached the top mark they had a 1min 17sec lead and Oracle were done.

It was hugely impressively from the Kiwis as they even foiled upwind at times.

After their fightback in race four on Monday, this was a crushing blow for Oracle.

The tactical work of their local man John Kostecki was bemusing and their lack of upwind speed alarming.

Barker was delighted with the victory but admitted it came with some nerves.

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"It's a tough way to win races but it's working for us," Barker said.

"We'd like to control our own fate a bit more around mark one. They got a bit more pressure there and stretched out.

"But it is encouraging to win again."

Spithill looked deflated on his boat between races as they made a change of jibs, going for a smaller one as the winds lifted for the second race.

He admitted his boat was struggling upwind.

"They definitely have some wheels upwind," he lamented.

Then the defenders played their wildcard, and the action was over for the day.

- Fairfax Media

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