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Spithill seeks second Cup miracle

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 26/06/2017

Video provided by Reuters

Team USA skipper Jimmy Spithill knows why his team are trailing New Zealand 6-1 in the America's Cup Match Series on Bermuda's Great Sound.

It's not technique, tactics or technical issues, he says.

Team New Zealand have simply sailed better, while the Americans have made too many mistakes.

The Kiwis are sitting on match point in the first-to-seven series after helmsman Peter Burling out-manoeuvred and out-paced Spithill's Team USA in light airs on Monday (NZT).

Burling nailed two sharp starts, narrowly edging the Americans on the start line in race seven and going on to seal a tense 12sec win.

In race eight, the Kiwis were even more dominant, completely outfoxing Team USA in pre-race manoeuvres to take a 14sec lead over the line.

They built on that with a flawless performance, racing on their foils all the way for a comfortable 30sec win.

TEAM USA skipper Jimmy Spithill talks on the radio after losing race 8 to Team New Zealand yesterday. © Ezra Shaw/Getty Images TEAM USA skipper Jimmy Spithill talks on the radio after losing race 8 to Team New Zealand yesterday. Spithill is confident his team still have the potential to keep the Auld Mug, drawing on his 2013 battle back from 8-1 down to retain the Cup in San Francisco.

"We think the boat's actually quite quick and very competitive," he said.

"We've proven we can win races against these guys if we sail well, but if we make too many mistakes like we did today, we won't."

Spithill says tactician Tom Slingsby has done a good job - "he basically had to play the cards he was dealt" - and neither will he blame software glitches for the errors which have plagued the Americans at key times.

"At the end of the day, you have to make a judgement decision," Spithill said.

"At the end of the day, the human has to decide when to push a button or when to make a move.

"If you're asking why the mistakes happened or looking for someone to point the finger at, then you should point it firmly at me."

Spithill wouldn't rule out personnel changes going into Tuesday's do-or-die racing, saying anything that made the team better was on the table.

"We'll put the team, the people, the boat, the configuration on the water tomorrow that we think will give us our best chance of winning."

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