Three key questions: Configuration costs Team NZ

Sailing reporters Paul Lewis and Dana Johannsen answer three burning questions after today's action on the water in the 34th America's Cup.

1. Jimmy Spithill wanted a Race 13 because, to paraphrase, it suited their sail set-up better. What did they do differently and how did it affect the early race?

Paul Lewis: They had port entry - and therefore an advantage - he blocked ETNZ beautifully at the pre-start and led from the get-go. They may also have been slightly better moded for the higher-than-expected winds at race time than ETNZ.

Dana Johannsen: I think it was more to do with boat set-up than sail set-up, because there was no difference in sail selection between the two for both races. Oracle had their boat better configured for upwind foiling, which they used as a tactical tool up the beat.

2. What was Dean Barker trying to do in the pre-start of Race 12 and why did it not come off?

PL: He was trying to out-manoeuvre Spithill so he got the favoured left-hand start and direct line to the reaching mark but was gazumped by a fine hook from Spithill that neutered the Kiwi challenge.

DJ: With starboard entry Barker needed to take a gamble but it didn't pay off. He came in fast and aggressively at Oracle, before turning back early to the line, but Jimmy Spithill reacted quickly and was able to follow Team NZ back and get a hook on them, bouncing them off the line.

3.How long are these blasted ebb tides going to hang around for?

PL: They are over as of Sunday (NZT) and go back to a flood (or incoming) tide, although the race that day (if there is one) looks like there will be flood tide but almost on the turn for the early race; ebb tide for the 9.15am race (if there is one).

DJ: We'll be in ebb tide around race time through till Sunday NZT - but the strength of the current is diminishing, which will mean the wind limits won't be so restrictive.

- NZ Herald

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