New Zealand reach match point against U.S. in America's Cup final

New Zealand reach match point against U.S. in America's Cup final

Because Oracle won the qualifiers, the Kiwis started this America's Cup match on the Great Sound with a negative point.

"It was great to see those boys actually sailing a little bit better ... these guys just sailed well and we're just excited about the battle ahead", New Zealand helmsman Peter Burling said following the rare defeat. "We've been there before".

"Clearly the plan wasn't to be in this position again, let me tell you", said Spithill, who became the youngest skipper to win the America's Cup when he piloted Oracle to victory in 2010. That was the key thing.

"We're also very happy to take some pretty good gains in the starts and I think that was the main difference today".

Underfunded Team New Zealand nearly folded after that debacle, but has bounced back with a remarkably fast boat design that includes a radical cycling grinding system.

"We weren't giving them anything the whole race and we were able to keep pushing and it really showed".

Such head-to-head duels can often determine the outcome of America's Cup clashes, with Team New Zealand establishing an early lead which they never relinquished.

As one of Team New Zealand's much vaunted cyclors, Sullivan's job is to produce the hydraulic oil that powers the boat's high-tech foiling and wing-sail systems.

"We'll just come back out tomorrow, really take all the lessons from today and we'll focus on one race at a time".

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But Spithill was heartened by his crew's response to the mistake-strewn day, which included being beaten in both starts and a costly penalty for sailing beyond a boundary.

Although the New Zealand team got away, the champions recovered well and fought their way back into the race, finding the speed which had evaded them in previous encounters.

The Americans fought back from 8-1 down in 2013, winning eight successive races under Spithill to retain the Auld Mug.

The Kiwis would regain the lead, but Spithill came out better in two close passes on the fifth leg to gain an advantage he wouldn't surrender. Spithill dipped underneath and both crews pushed the protest button. But it was aggressive tactics by Burling that left Spithill and his mates in the dust at the outset of the race.

“We didnt sail particularly well today but it was great to walk away with another win.

New Zealand still lead the first-to-seven points series 4-1 - having opened with a one-point deficit thanks to the USA's topping the qualifying round-robin.

"They sailed very well and won two races".

Even with the wide margin in Race 5, Oracle Team USA looked faster than it did in getting humbled in four races last weekend.

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