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US secure first win of America's Cup, trail New Zealand 4-1

US secure first win of America's Cup, trail New Zealand 4-1”

By doing so they could expunge the bitter memory of 2013, when they led Spithill and the United States of America 8-1 before falling 9-8 in San Francisco.

Helmsman Peter Burling ensured there would be no signs of relenting after Team New Zealand moved to the cusp of securing the America's Cup on Monday (NZT).

Defending champions the US took their first win in race six on Saturday but were again easily distanced on Sunday.

New Zealand, a small, sailing-mad island nation, will no doubt be holding its breath.

"We talked a lot yesterday about how we had a lot of things we wanted to learn and improve on and today's no different", said Burling.

"These guys sailed better". We had one in the first race in the Qualifiers against us; they should have got a penalty at the top mark.

"We're in a tough situation now". Clearly the plan wasn't to be in this position again, let me tell you, but we're here. But we're here. So now it's up to us to respond and react.

Burling and his crew fought hard to get back into the race and at one stage got a lead, only to be overtaken and ultimately left trailing in the wake of the US boat as it screamed into the finish, to loud cheers from many Bermudan supporters.

"That was important", Spithill said.

"We're just going to look at tomorrow as another day".

The Kiwis started the first-to-seven points series with a one-point deficit but were left needing just two more wins to wrest the Cup from the United States of America, with one more race scheduled for Sunday. But there were shifts and patches of light breeze on the race course, giving opportunities for tactical passes.

The underfunded but crafty Kiwis are humbling the powerhouse team owned by American software tycoon Larry Ellison.

Burling, who won Olympic gold previous year in the 49er skiff class with fellow crew member Blair Tuke, has exuded a disarming calm and has now won a place in yachting history. That was enough to allow Burling to speed well ahead.

The next cross saw an aggressive dial-down by the starboard tack Team New Zealand.

Spithill turned up just a little bit as the 50-foot foiling catamarans approached the starting line, perhaps fearful of being early across the line as he was in Races 1 and 5, both losses.

"I don't have the fears that suddenly we'll go to New Zealand ...and it'll take the Cup back to the Dark Ages", a tanned and bearded Ainslie said.

If New Zealand triumph, many will put it down to the revolutionary "cycling" system developed to power the hydraulics needed to control the catamaran's foils, which lift it out of the water, and the vast "wing" sail which drives it along.

He led the USA's miraculous revival in San Francisco four years ago, when his team came back from 8-1 down to beat New Zealand 9-8 in one of sport's greatest ever turnarounds.



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