Peter Lester: Flaws have upside for crew confidence

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Crew members aboard Emirates Team New Zealand. Photo / AP
Crew members aboard Emirates Team New Zealand. Photo / AP

With the exception of a couple of early hiccups for Team New Zealand, the Louis Vuitton finals have played out pretty much as we expected it to: Team NZ have been slick; Luna Rossa have battled.

As much as I would have liked to have seen a more competitive finals series, that hasn't happened, so the best thing that can happen now is to get the finals wrapped up this weekend without any further delays.

They aren't being put under any real pressure from the Italians, so it is in Team NZ's interests to get this thing finished, get back into their own environment and start preparing for the America's Cup.

I assume they've got a couple of final tweaks to make to their boat, so the sooner they can get on to those and get in a few more training days on the water, the better.

For fans watching at home, Team NZ's nosedive in race one made some people nervous about how they would fare at the rest of the regatta. It didn't help that the next day the team had a hydraulic breakdown that put them out of the second race.

After such a smooth run through the round robin, I don't think it is necessarily a bad thing for Team NZ to have a few curveballs thrown their way at this point.

Going back to the 32nd America's Cup in Valencia, the Kiwi team were fantastic when they beat Luna Rossa 5-0, but they probably sailed their best races in the Louis Vuitton Cup in 2007. When they got to the Cup match they didn't sail poorly, but a couple of things happened that had an unsettling effect and threw them off their stride early on.

Hopefully what has happened here in the first couple of races means they've gone through that period earlier. For sure, it has been disruptive for the team, but these hurdles can only keep them sharp for the Cup match.

Again, while the nosedive incident was frightening for spectators, one of the positives of what happened in the first race is that the boat saved the team. The hulls were placed under some enormous loads and didn't break, with the exception of the fairing, which was cosmetic.

They've always been confident in their boat, but the incident has reinforced that Aotearoa is a boat they can trust and can push hard. They know it's not going to bite them.

I don't know if you can say the same about the defender.

Oracle Team USA haven't been out in a lot of wind, and they've capsized one boat, which has got to make you nervous. Whereas Team NZ know if something happens as it did in race one, they know they've survived it and been able to keep going around the course. For that, we've got to give huge props to the backroom guys - the designers, the engineers, the builders, the guys who monitor the boat and the shore crew that maintain it.

Probably what has impressed me the most is their attention to detail. Because in the end the little bits make up a big chunk.

- NZ Herald

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