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America's Cup teams

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 25/05/2017

Who's at the start line for the 35th America's Cup?

DEFENDERS

Team USA (skipper Jimmy Spithill)

Seeking a second successful defence after the remarkable fightback in the San Francisco Cup match four years ago. Limitless funding will make them formidable in the decider again, along with their familiarity with Bermuda's conditions.

Observers say the boat is looking fast, although not as manoeuvrable as others. Taking part in the challenger series - a first for a defender - will help them iron out issues.

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CHALLENGERS

Team NZ (Glenn Ashby)

Ever the improvisers, the Kiwis have turned heads with their leg-powered approach to grinding. They don't think it's the key to success but it suggests no shortage of thinking has gone into how to gain miniscule edges in what shapes as a tensely-fought regatta.

They will hope brilliant Olympic class helmsman Peter Burling can provide a winning point of difference.

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Team Japan (Dean Barker)

Burling takes the Kiwi reigns from longtime skipper Dean Barker, who has jumped ship to head an intriguing Japanese challenge.

A sharing arrangement with Team USA in Bermuda means they have plenty of top-level information and design know-how to call on.

Barker also brought a host of Team NZ personnel with him.

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Sweden Racing (Nathan Outteridge)

Have captured attention with their boat's speed and handling in practice sessions, especially when the wind gets up.

Will want to atone for a tragic campaign four years ago when crewman Andrew Simpson was killed in a training accident.

Skipper Nathan Outteridge would love nothing more than to get one over great Olympic rival Burling.

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British BAR (Ben Ainslie):

The influence of four-time Olympic champion Ben Ainslie is everywhere in a team who won the nine-regatta world series but have appeared off the pace since getting to Bermuda.

BAR ruffled Kiwi feathers when colliding with Team NZ in a practice race, condemning their opponents to four days of repairs.

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Team France (Franck Cammas):

A rookie team and favoured to be the first syndicate eliminated ahead of the semi-finals.

A possible weakness is the hurried nature of their design.

A strength is the presence of veteran skipper Franck Cammas.

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