The mind game shackles have been broken: it is over and out for Jimmy Spithill in his calculated war of words with Team New Zealand.

This 35th America's Cup game ain't over, not by a long shot if the winds pick up. But Spithill's War is a goneburger.

Spithill can still do plenty of talking on the water. If he keeps trying it on in the press room, but deaf ears await after he bombed following the first two races.

Maybe Spithill the Manipulator had been cast off by Team NZ anyway - it's hard to tell with Peter Burling who limits any public duelling to the contest between his eyes and his eyebrows.


Spithill's hold has gone. The 8 - 1 business from 2013, the scars of the San Francisco capitulation, the brilliant way Spithill held his nerve and talked the Kiwis into doubt four years ago - they all feel like history after the first two races this time.

Until now, Jimmy was still living on past verbal glories in this regatta. He felt able to tell the world - but really Peter Burling - about TNZ's "fundamental mistakes" earlier in the regatta.

The unflappable Burling, Team New Zealand's rookie match racer, may make mistakes, but getting Spithill-ed won't be one of them from here on.

The brilliant Aussie match racer fell into his own trap, by claiming boat speed wasn't an issue after the rest of us watched Oracle eat a lot of soggy dust. In reality, Team NZ's boat designers have performed budget miracles. They should stand front of float, if this gets to the parade stage. Boat speed WAS everything.

Sporting psychological warfare needs a grain of truth to feed on. Spithill was gulping on light air. He's trying to sell a pup compared to Team NZ's speedy cat under 10 or 12 knots of wind.

The British Telegraph - a neutral observer - claimed Team NZ's opening two wins would send "shockwaves" through the Oracle camp, such was the extraordinary dominance.

Oracle can still win this, if Spithill can bring his match racing brilliance and Tom Slingsby's tactical acumen into play in stronger conditions. Otherwise...light winds, game over.

I like Spithill. He's a terrific character. Sport in this part of the world needs more Jimmy Spithills. But he's gone overboard this time.


His claim that boat speed wasn't an issue sounded stale, tired, silly.

The belligerent Aussie has revelled in using the public forum to play mind games with Team New Zealand, while we in the media are delighted to play along because he makes great copy and brings an edge to the competition.

"(the wind) was a pretty tough direction to be drawing conclusions on boat speed," said Spithill, who found himself so far behind at times it was difficult to get both boats on the TV screen.

These were such crushing defeats that Spithill failed to even sound like he was talking tough. Behind the scenes - different story one would suggest. Spithill will have walked straight from that press conference and eye-balled his boat designers. He might even have found them beforehand. There is no time to waste.

Burling, meanwhile, is not a man to twist the knife. Team NZ will "keep pushing forward", he announced.

Pushing forward won't do it for Oracle, who organised a six day break after the third and fourth races on Monday (NZ time). If they have a Hail Mary Golden Bullet, they need to fire it right now. Otherwise, Oracle are toast in light conditions. It was like watching a Ferrari against a tractor, and you can tweak a tractor all you like but it won't turn bright red and go very fast.

The computer read outs showed a clear speed advantage to Team NZ upwind and downwind. Surely Oracle computers don't lie, Jimmy.

The gap in both races was so big that Team NZ stuff ups hardly counted.

"We'll come out swinging tomorrow," said Spithill, trying to lift his team.

Over to the weather gods. Spithill at his best can talk up a storm, but no one can talk up the wind.


This, from a reader: 'Team NZ rules the waves, Team USA waives the rules.' Nice.