Three key questions: Team NZ remain in box seat

Herald yachting experts Paul Lewis and Dana Johannsen answer the burning questions from another dominant display by for Team New Zealand.

1. Did Ben Ainslie make a difference? If so, how?
Paul Lewis: No - Races 6 & 7 were just as convincing a defeat as Race 5 and comes down to one simple fact - upwind speed. Oracle Team USA made no mistakes today but it is hard to blame Kostecki for a move they planned and practised as a team the previous day but failed to pull off. Kostecki doesn't execute the tacks - he just calls 'em.

Dana Johannsen: No. There was little even the greatest sailor in the world could do to counteract Team NZ's upwind power and slick manoeuvring. It was a desperate play by Oracle that did not address their real concerns - poor boathandling and execution.

2. Ray Davies has got a lot of credit for engineering a spilt at the bottom mark in Race 6: was that the difference between winning and losing that race?
PL: No - it helped to play to NZ's upwind strengths but the race was won and lost when Barker & Davies called that dial-down and played chicken with OTUSA, forcing them to sail wide.

DJ: It helped, but Team NZ's upwind advantage is so great that you would expect they would have found a way to roll over top of Oracle regardless.

3. Was it important, if only for Dean Barker's peace of mind, to win a start in Race 7?
PL: Yes, it helps, but they could have a cup of tea and a lie-down at the start and still win the race if they keep their form and tactical decisions going. Their boat is faster upwind by a decisive amount.

DJ: Yes, as skipper you don't want to be putting your crew under any more pressure than you have to. Barker described his effort in the startbox in race 6 as a "shocker" and it was important he put things right in the second.

- NZ Herald

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