America’s Cup: do we dare to hope?

MIKE SEGAR/REUTERS
Team NZ will have to keep on developing to keep their noses in front of Oracle.

While much of the attention has been on the changes Oracle can make in their bid to catch Team New Zealand, the Kiwis will not be resting on their laurels.

They can’t afford to.

As Team NZ went into the five-day break from racing on Monday with a 3-0 lead in the battle for the America’s Cup, helmsman Peter Burling insisted they still had a “massive list” to work on and were still a long way from where they wanted their boat to be.

The America’s Cup is as much a development race as it is fought out on the water. ? If you’re not getting faster, you’re standing still. ?

MASTER THE MANOEUVRES

Team NZ are adamant they can still step up their straight-line speed but it is in the manoeuvres where the biggest gains can be made. They have been the most consistent team with their turns and took it up another level after the challenger final.

But with the one-design rule restricting much of the differences between boats, so much of the result will come down to pure sailing ability.?They have to nail it.

CUT OUT MISTAKES

As impressive as Team NZ?have been against Oracle, there?were a couple of errors in the first two races that could have very easily come back to bite them. They give up massive leads on both occasions, and who could forget the sight of Burling having to be reminded to take the wheel when he wandered off as the boat stalled in race one.

We have?already seen just how damaging a capsize can be but don’t underestimate the small mistakes, which have the power to?change the outcome of a race in an instant. Team NZ have been good in this area but they need to be perfect under pressure.

KEEP SOMETHING UP THE SLEEVE

Team NZ were guilty of maxing out in San Francisco and ran out of ideas when Oracle made their run. With their pedal-powered hydraulics system, wingsail control and ‘kinky’ light-air foils, Kiwi ingenuity has been at the forefront of this?campaign but they have to keep developing.

Skipper Glenn Ashby said they still have plenty of componentry that had yet to be implemented on the boat, which bodes well for the upcoming races.?They may well need to find another few knots of speed to keep their noses in front.

FORGET ABOUT THE OUTCOME

With anticipation of a New Zealand victory?building by the day, it would be easy for the Kiwi crew to starting thinking about popping champagne and ticker-tape parades, but that is the worst thing they could do. ‘One race at a time’ … media types hate that sort of talk but it is the oldest cliche in sport for a reason – it works.

Dreaming of the final outcome distracts you from the task at hand and up against such a talented and well-resourced opponent as?Oracle, that could prove fatal. Given what happened in 2013, if?there is one team that should not fall?guilty of complacency it’s?Team New Zealand. Still,?a little reminder that it ain’t over till it’s over can’t hurt.

So perhaps we should all just take it one race at a time. ? Losing from 8 – 1 has all taught us humility and caution.

But still… ?go TNZ (shhh!)

 

– Marvin France, Stuff

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