America's Cup reaches crossroads as Kiwis near win


The races were shared today, with Emirates Team New Zealand claiming the first-up race of the day, before Oracle notched up their first point in the series in the second race, claiming their first point of the series.

Oracle Team USA, left, is the defending champion in the America's Cup.

The campaign, which Ainslie said is likely to be similar in cost to the 90 million pounds ($114 million) spent on getting to Bermuda, will go ahead regardless of the outcome of the final between holders Team Oracle USA and Emirates Team New Zealand. But Oracle and skipper Jimmy Spithill were penalized for a port-starboard infraction and had to drop two lengths back. It's not the first time Spithill and Oracle have had their backs to the wall.

That'll be a big ask, considering how fast and dominating helmsman Peter Burling and Emirates Team New Zealand were in routing Oracle in the first four races last weekend. The Kiwis are holding a lead that they shall start with when the race resumes next week.

"I like what I'm hearing about the possibility of going back to a mono hull and not making it the same circus that we have [in Bermuda]", Conner said in an interview with Rachel Smalley on Newstalk ZB's Early Edition. We feel that with the resources we have here we can make the changes to improve the boat and give us more speed. That gave them an advantage in being able to get up on the foils quicker and more easily in light winds.

"I think we should send them to Hollywood", he said. "Certainly there is a little bit of talk around hey have we paid a little bit too much to have the cup in Bermuda".

Two former America's Cup winners, John Bertrand of Australia and Bertarelli, have been in Bermuda in recent days and could return to the event if the Kiwis win.

"We were certainly excited the way it was panning out", NZL Sailing Team skipper Logan Dunning Beck said.

Ainslie has signed up to a framework agreement with the US and other teams which would mean the event is held every two years in catamarans similar to those being raced in Bermuda.

But Oracle closed the distance and the boats were even as they went through the gate mark five.

However, just as they had taken the lead, Oracle Team USA were punished once again as the boats crossed for a second time on leg 3/7.

At one stage comeback specialist Spithill managed to get a lead over Burling, but he was out-duelled and infringed the Kiwi "cat", incurring another penalty and allowing them to fly into the line on their space-age catamaran in front of a packed grandstand in Bermuda's purpose-built America's Cup Village.