Team New Zealand adamant there's more speed to come video

America's Cup

British team Land Rover BAR crash into the back Team New Zealand in practice in Bermuda.

Happy but hungry for more – that's the verdict from Team New Zealand on their speed a week out from the America's Cup.

The Kiwis believe they are on the pace with their key rivals in terms of the vital element required to win the Auld Mug – straight out speed.

Add their impressive form through turns and there's plenty to be enthused about ahead of the opening gun on May 27 when the Kiwis take on Team France in their first round-robin clash of the challengers series.

Team New Zealand bear down on Team France during practice racing in Bermuda.
EMIRATES TEAM NZ

Team New Zealand bear down on Team France during practice racing in Bermuda.

But there is not sitting on their laurels. Team New Zealand trimmer Blair Tuke emphasised that on Friday (NZ time) as the crew sat idle waiting for repairs to be finished on their boat.

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"It's getting close to racing now, we still have a lot of learning to do," Tuke told Radio Sport.

Olympic 49er champions Blair Tuke, left, and Peter Burling are key elements of the new blood Team New Zealand have on ...
PHOTOSPORT

Olympic 49er champions Blair Tuke, left, and Peter Burling are key elements of the new blood Team New Zealand have on board for this America's Cup.

"We have to get faster, we know that, and we have said that from the start. But we are happy with where we are at."

Despite their limited racing and training since arriving in Bermuda, Tuke felt there was enough time to refine ahead of the first race and that development would continue right through the racing schedule.

"It's always evolving. Teams are getting faster and using different techniques, we have to try and match it and hopefully do one better.

"You have to try to think ahead and think where the bar is going to be set and hope you are further down the road than the other guys.

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"We are going to have to keep getting faster and push the boat to the limit, that's for sure.

"The guys we have to beat to get to Oracle are good. Softbank (Team Japan) is going really fast, Artemis is fast, so to beat those guys we need to be at the top of our game.

"We have to get it going as fast as possible. Once we get that, it's up to us to get it around the track smoothly, start well and do all the little things right."

Tuke conceded there was a degree of sand-bagging going on in the practice racing with teams reluctant to show their full armoury ahead of the real fight.

Tuke lamented the damage to the Kiwi boat after getting rammed by Britain's Sir Ben Ainslie. He said the silver lining to the unwanted incident was the light winds that had stalled their rivals while the Kiwis were forced off the water.

Tuke felt the team had shown real promise in their two races on Wednesday before disaster hit in the form of Ainslie's bow colliding with the rear of their left hull.

"It had been a really good day up until then ... we had a couple of prestarts, some good learnings and good races," Tuke told Radio Sport.

"But Ben got a little bit aggressive and put the boat somewhere it was never going to make it. It's unfortunate."

Tuke said there were no hard feelings and Ainslie had apologised via emails to the Kiwis.

"It didn't need to happen, but at the same time what happens on the water, happens on the water and we'll get over it. You have to look forward, you can't look back. You have to look at the bright side of it. We have a few days where we could have been out sailing but we've been doing jobs on the boat that needed to be done anyway."

Tuke said the repair crew had done "an awesome job" on the AC50.

"Structurally it's back to where it needs to be. There still a pant job to get it looking nice again. But we will be back out on the water at the weekend."

 - Stuff

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