Emirates Team New Zealand dominated Oracle Team USA on Bermuda’s Great Sound on Sunday, winning twice to move within one victory of seizing the America’s Cup.

A day after pugnacious Australian skipper Jimmy Spithill steered the defenders Oracle to their first win of the series, helmsman Peter Burling and New Zealand reasserted their dominance.

With a 6-1 lead in the first-to-seven points series, the New Zealanders can claim the Cup on Monday and expunge the memory of their crushing defeat in 2013, when they led the USA 8-1 before falling 9-8 in San Francisco.

Burling, 26, bested Spithill in the pre-start of both races, and the USA couldn’t recover either time.

In the day’s opener, Spithill swerved slightly as the dueling catamarans headed for the start line, allowing Burling to blast across the line with a one-second lead.

Leading at the first mark, New Zealand were never really threatened en route to a 12-second win.

In the second race, Burling out-foxed Spithill in the pre-start box to hit the startline a mammoth 14 seconds in front.

New Zealand then displayed masterful control of their innovative cycle-powered boat, foiling all the way around the course en route to a 30-second win.

“It makes life a little easier when you get off the start 14 seconds ahead,” said Burling, who some thought would struggle when matching wits with two-time Cup winner Spithill.

“We had a really good understanding of what they were trying to be able to do with their starts and a good strategy to oppose it.

“Full credit to the guys, holding it tight not giving them any chances to get back in the race.”

Under pressure in the shifty winds, Oracle produced a series of mistakes that further doomed their chances, including a penalty for sailing through the boundary and a splash-down off their foils that saw them slow dramatically.

“We just couldn’t get the hook up at the start,” Spithill said. “From then on it was very difficult to catch them once they got their noses ahead. It was clearly an error.

“You have to take your hats off to them today,” he added. “They sailed very well and won two races.”

But Spithill — whose defiance four years ago propelled Oracle to one of sport‘s great comebacks over a Kiwi outfit skippered by Dean Barker — wasn’t conceding anything.

“It’s a tall mountain to climb, no question,” he said. “But we have been here before. We fight all the way. We don’t have to think too far ahead, just on the next race. We will come back tomorrow swinging and ready to fight.” – Agence France-Presse

- Advertisement -