New Zealand wins 5th straight vs Oracle in America's Cup

The US Defenders of the America's Cup found themselves 3-0 down to their Kiwi rivals after the first four races of the final stage of the 35th America's Cup.

Not only did Team USA make their boat faster during a five-day break in racing, but Spithill, who was a pretty fair boxer during his youth in Australia, regained his edge as a master at mind games.

One commentator called it a "statement" race for Emirates Team New Zealand which used up the ideal adjective to describe the start of race 8.

Team New Zealand, which has been fast in light wind, needs two more victories to lift the oldest trophy in worldwide sports from two-time defending champion Oracle Team USA, which is owned by software tycoon Larry Ellison.

But not everyone agrees, with "America's Cup is Larry's (Ellison's) Cup" in graffiti on one bus stop. "We saw these guys take days off during the Conditions were better for racing than forecast on Saturday afternoon, with wind in the 9-12 knot range, from the southwest". We now have confidence in the tool we have, which is the most important thing.

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. Campbell, an Olympian, joined the team after watching them win in San Francisco. "If we think the team has got a better chance with me off the wheel, no problem", he said.

"That was exactly what the boys needed. we've had a good improvement on our boat speed today and I think another step tomorrow would be great", United States skipper Jimmy Spithill said.

Team U.S.A. made another mistake on the fourth leg when a bad jibe caused the boat to come off its foils.

"We felt they were a little rusty last weekend but we are under no illusions". Potentially, in a situation like this you could see a team split apart, but when we got ashore everyone pulled together because we know this isn't over. But they faced up to the challenge and sped away to the finish for the first win of the series.

Now Burling could become the youngest helmsman to hoist sailing's greatest prize.

"I don't think we sailed that well today, to be honest but we're really happy with the lead we've got", he said. "We felt we had a great race going with the Kiwis".

Spithill and his crew did everything they could to stop the leaderboard ticking round to 5-1 to Emirates Team New Zealand, reducing the deficit to 13 seconds at the sixth gate, but they were unable to bridge the gap completely and that left the Kiwis celebrating victory in race seven.

"It's a bit of an advantage when you get off the start line like that. It is working. The boat is getting quicker".

The American team actually took the lead briefly up the third beat, but copped another two-length penalty for crossing too close to the NZ boat. He said it was a great opportunity for the shore team to work on its boat.

New Zealand are one step away from glory in the America's Cup after winning two races on Sunday and extending their lead to 6-1 in the first-to-seven final against the defending champions, the USA.

That's all Burling needed to put his cat ahead for good. Two passes then ensued between the two teams, with Spithill coming out on top, nudging ahead at the fifth gate.