Three burning questions: How the start was lost

Team NZ have now lost five straight races to Oracle Team NZ. Photo / Brett Phibbs
Team NZ have now lost five straight races to Oracle Team NZ. Photo / Brett Phibbs

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) Where did Dean Barker go wrong in the race start? Did he let Oracle slip by or should credit go to Team USA?

Paul Lewis: There was nothing wrong with the start - it was all about boat speed. Oracle are faster on that first reaching mark off the line; they have better acceleration.

Dana Johannsen: Barker couldn't have done much more at the start, he defended the leeward end of the line well. The problem is in the light air Oracle seem to have a more forgiving foil package and easily popped up on their foils and accelerate away, while ETNZ laboured to the first mark.

2) After five straight wins Jimmy Spithill says Oracle have the momentum. Is there anywhere Team NZ can better them?

PL: The recipe is the same - win the start, be ahead at the bottom mark and block them off. It's not really momentum, it's more about boat speed.

DJ: If they can win the start and defend well, they can beat them.

3) Do ETNZ need to try something different? Maybe onboard changes? It worked for Oracle.

PL: I don't think it's a selection issue. Their strongest team is probably there already. What's needed, if possible, is to make the boat faster reaching and get in front for once - but then there may be a cost upwind.

DJ: On board changes aren't really an option for Team NZ. While Oracle had two full sailing crews at their disposal, Team NZ only have a few extra sailing crew at their disposal. It's all about how they optimise their boat for the conditions from here.

- NZ Herald

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