Jimmy Spithill has said "it is all on the table" when it comes to what Oracle Team USA can do to negate Team New Zealand's significant speed advantage over the next five days. By my reckoning, the table is pretty bare.

There are obvious parallels here to San Francisco, when Oracle clawed their way back from an 8-1 deficit to retain the America's Cup.

Without a doubt, Spithill and his team have shown a remarkable ability to overcome adversity and five days seems like a luxurious amount of time when you consider the miracles Oracle were able to pull off in just 48 hours at the 34th America's Cup.

But the picture in Bermuda is quite different. Ironically, the sweeping changes that were made to the class design rule mid-way through this Cup cycle aren't really working out for Oracle right now.


Those changes, which saw the AC62 class that was in the original protocol axed in favour of a 50-foot catamaran with more one-design elements may come back to bite the defender.

The one-design component probably plays into New Zealand's hands, because it limits Oracle in what they can change.

The wing systems are locked in, the daggerboards are locked in, although you can change the tips to the foils, you might be able to build a set of rudder elevators in a week, but that wouldn't allow much time for testing.

So concerns that Oracle will make drastic alterations to their boat and blow Emirates Team New Zealand off the water are probably more a hangover from San Francisco than being founded in genuine fact.

New Zealanders are rightly cautious, however. They have some incredibly shrewd operators working behind the scenes at Oracle in the likes of Russell Coutts and general manager Grant Simmer, who will be poring over the footage and data and looking at what they can do to catch this Kiwi boat.

For both teams, the biggest gains to be made are out on the water.

I wouldn't be surprised to see Oracle spend a lot of time out on the Great Sound this week. They will have seen how the Kiwis are sailing their boat and they will be looking to replicate some of that.

A lot of what Team New Zealand are doing will be difficult to copy.

For example, many sailing anoraks have taken note of the way the Kiwi boats flies bow down, cranked to windward. This means the windward elevator is getting more grip, which creates righting moment, giving it more stability and speed.

It's not just a case of Oracle just being able to match this, as it is all to do with the way the New Zealand boat has been set-up and the systems, in particular their wing, they have on board.

Oracle will no doubt have company out on the Great Sound this week. Team NZ will also be looking to spend some significant time on the water this week, because they believe they still have huge gains to make in the way the sail their boat.

As we've seen all regatta, Team NZ are seeking continual refinement.

The other big factor that might come into play when it comes to narrowing the gap between the two teams is the weather.

The first two days of the Cup match produced winds in the 8-11 knot range, and in those conditions, the New Zealand boat is decidedly quicker.

Oracle will be hoping to see the breeze pick up next weekend, because immediately that means the boats are set-up differently.

Yet you get the sense from the New Zealand camp that won't faze them.

This team and their mentality is entirely different from San Francisco. They're not standing still looking over their shoulders, they're focused on continuing the development race they've been having with themselves since they launched their race boat in Auckland back in February.