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It looks like Team New Zealand are the team to beat when there is light wind in Bermuda.
Peter Burling’s crew have looked ‘exceptionally impressive’ in this morning’s win over Team BAR.
After a lack of wind yesterday the lay day is being used to catch up on the schedule.
The first race between Team Japan and Team France saw both boats struggle before Dean Barker earned a crucial win. But Team New Zealand had no such trouble in the light wind, cruising around the course and almost passing BAR a second time before crossing the finish line.
Dean Barker’s Team Japan gave Oracle Team USA are real scare, leading the race through the first three legs before giving up the lead.
Known as the Auld Mug – and similar to but larger than golf’s Claret Jug – the America’s Cup was originally awarded in 1851 by the Royal Yacht Squadron for a race around the Isle of Wight, won by the schooner America.
It is the world’s oldest international sporting trophy, and has never been won by Great Britain in 21 attempts.
The US has won it 28 times, New Zealand and Switzerland twice, and Australia once, in perhaps the second greatest comeback in sport when they wrenched the cup from America for the first time in its history with a controversial winged keel, all sorts of mind games, and the backing of the colourful businessman Alan Bond.
Ben Ainslie topped that last time out. Oracle were trailing 4-0 when he replaced John Kostecki as tactician on board Oracle.
Emirates Team New Zealand stretched their lead to 8-1, needing only one more win. But then Oracle managed to perfect the technique of keeping the boat up on its foils when sailing upwind.
The 35th America’s Cup is being contested in 49ft 2ins, wing-sailed, foiling catamarans, crewed by six – a far cry from Reliance, the 1903 winner which was four times as long and had 64 on board.
The 77ft high wing sail acts more like an aircraft wing, hinging in the middle to propel the boat faster than the speed of the wind by pulling the sail forwards.
It has a top speed of around 60mph; Reliance was lucky to hit a quarter of that.
Each boat has two sets of foils – one for light winds, one for heavy, which they must choose before a race begins. L-shaped, they can be canted and the rake of the foil determines the lift of the hulls out of the water.
Each hull also has a winged rudder for steering and stability.
They are controlled by the skipper, from his steering wheel, which in Ainslie’s case has been custom-built by Jaguar Land Rover using Formula One ‘paddle’ technology.
He will make around 1,200 adjustments in each 20-minute race.
He is assisted by a wing trimmer who controls the sail, while four others – two of whom also act as tactician and headsail trimmer – are grinders, who lift the daggerboards and operate winches.
Teams can rotate up to two crewmen between races. Five of the boats employ arm power, but the Kiwis have opted for a revolutionary cycling system; the leg muscles are more powerful, but the position is less aerodynamic and grinders cannot move around the boat as quickly.