26 Jun 2017

Team NZ on America's Cusp

11:01 am on 26 June 2017

Peter Burling is 'happy to take some good gains' as Team New Zealand sailed to the brink of America's Cup victory, taking two races from Oracle Team USA this morning.

Team New Zealand take on Oracle Team USA in the fourth day of America's Cup racing.

Team New Zealand take on Oracle Team USA in the fourth day of America's Cup racing. Photo: Photosport NZ

Team New Zealand is just one win away from lifting the cup and are sitting on a 6-1 lead in the first-to-seven final, setting themselves up to revenge a humbling defeat in San Francisco in 2013.

How it happened: look back at RNZ's live coverage on today's racing here.

Helmsman Burling's team dominated the start of both races and the New Zealanders were never challenged around the course.

In race 7, this morning's first race - the New Zealanders won the start in steady, 12 knot winds, and stayed comfortably ahead for the entire race - at one of the marks leading by 40 seconds, and winning by 12 seconds.

The defenders again showed good speed, but Team New Zealand covered all their moves over the course.

In the second, the New Zealanders won by 30 seconds.

Burling said his crew can still improve.

"We were really happy with today's racing but we talked about how we had a lot of things we wanted to improve and today's no different.

"We don't feel like we sailed anywhere near where we can. But we were also really happy to take some good gains in the starts and I think that was the main difference today."

Oracle's helmsman Jimmy Spithill was uncharacteristically subdued.

"These guys sailed better and made fewer mistakes. They deserved to win two races, we clearly just made too many mistakes today.

"We came out fighting and the boys put in 100 percent as they always do and we're in a tough situation now.

"We just really have to take this one race at a time now. Clearly the plan was not to be in this position again but we're here. So now its up to us to respond and react."

He said the US team would fight to the end and had staged a comeback from a similar position before, something they did in San Francisco.

Team New Zealand tactician Ray Davies told RNZ's reporter in Bermuda, Todd Niall, that there was a very good mood on the boat today.

"A lot of of work has gone into getting to this point.

"I was thrilled to see the guys starting so well and executing really good tactics around the course, really good communication, and fast."

He said the moves that were used in the pre-starts have been worked on since before they team even got to Bermuda and seeing them being deployed in the races was "really pleasing".

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