Team New Zealand have the advantage they craved – now it’s time to make it count.
The pattern of split days was finally broken on Monday, as the defenders claimed both races to take a vital 5-3 lead.
Race eight was one of the most incredible in America’s Cup history, with an eight-minute swing, as Team New Zealand came back from an impossible position to win.
They were thrilled with the manner of the victory, but even happier with the foothold they now have in the race to seven points.
“It’s a big moment for us to get two on the board, that’s what we wanted to do – to try and get a break [on them] today,” said flight controller Blair Tuke. “We probably made it a little bit tougher than it needs to be, but we are rapt.”
“The boat is going really nicely, and we feel like we are getting into our groove more and more, the more races that we do.”
The spectacle that unfolded on Monday was the best of the summer so far, as Team New Zealand came from behind to win both races against the dogged Italian outfit. The first race saw a spectacular pass by Te Rehutai, but that excitement was completely overshadowed by the second contest, as Team New Zealand retrieved a massive deficit to win, with both boats enduring extended periods off their foils.
“Wow – what a race,” said Tuke. “It was certainly one to keep. That was a pretty unreal fightback from the guys. We made a pretty costly error gybing right behind them on the first downwind [leg] and fell off the foils but we got back up reasonably quickly and then we sailed a great race from there.”
There were some dark moments on board, but Team New Zealand never lost hope – even when the deficit was four minutes – and backed their ability in the light conditions.
“By the time we went round the bottom mark we were probably in a better mood than when we went off the foils,” said Tuke. “Once we got back and going, we knew it was shifty and there was a chance that they could come off. We just had to keep pushing hard and if they were to do that we were going to pounce and we managed to do it.
“We have done a lot of practice recently on the real bottom end conditions, [with a] really nice technique through all those manoeuvres to keep it going.
“The boat’s going nice, even though we were on the wrong sail (jib) in that race we were still managing to go along just fine. We will keep learning, we made a couple of mistakes in the pre-start – they weren’t as clean as we liked – so we need to keep charging on, still a couple more to go.”
Heading into the Cup racing?
• Give yourself plenty of time and think about catching a ferry, train or bus to watch the Cup.
• Make sure your AT HOP card is in your pocket. It’s the best way to ride.
• Don’t forget to scan QR codes with the NZ COVID Tracer app when on public transport and entering the America’s Cup Village.
• For more ways to enjoy race day, visit at.govt.nz/americascup.
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