Peter Burling talks up Bermuda support - at Oracle's expense
Team New Zealand reckon they are winning the race off the water in Bermuda as much as they are whipping Oracle Team USA on the Great Sound.
Peter Burling took a sly dig at the defenders as he soaked up a fourth consecutive win over Jimmy Spithill's team to take charge of the America's Cup match with a 3-0 lead after two days of racing.
In the leadup to the match Australian Spithill said Oracle were fortunate because they had the "home" support of Bermuda to go with their backing in the United States. He felt that could be a significant factor against the Kiwis.
But Burling reckons Bermuda, a British territory, might be swaying in favour of the colonial team from New Zealand.
"We really appreciate the support we are getting from the locals now and the amount of Kiwi flags we see in the village is just growing every day and that support ... we really love it," Burling said on Monday.
There has also been a noticeable lift in New Zealand fan presence in Bermuda for the Cup match.
"The amount of Kiwis that have got up here, the flags around the village ... we just appreciate the support, it really inspires us to keep pushing on."
Burling said messages of support had also been flooding in from New Zealand as the country continued to be captured by the high-speed action in Bermuda and the prospect of a Kiwi victory to erase the heartache of four years ago in San Francisco.
"We are over the moon with the support we get back home. It's amazing how many people are getting up at 5am each morning to watch the racing and the amount of messages that we are getting," Burling said.
Oracle have been based in Bermuda for the better part of two years. Team New Zealand were the last syndicate to arrive, only turning up on the eve of the round-robin series. They have quickly made their mark with their fast racing and friendly attitude.
It seems winners are grinners and Team New Zealand's run through the round-robin, the challenger play-offs and now an impressive start to the Cup march has attracted a growing army of fans.
The Bermuda government is feeling some heat over the America's Cup with some locals concerned the event was failing to deliver on pre-regatta promises of revenue and opportunities.
There have been suggestions that even if Oracle can pull of another miracle comeback, Bermuda might not be the preferred venue for the next Cup.