Oracle to 'regroup' after runaway Kiwi yachting win
Oracle Team USA (L) competes against Emirates Team New Zealand during the 34th America's Cup on September 10, 2013 in San Francisco.
Once again Oracle proved unable to hold onto an early race lead, and after losing by more than a minute called for the postponement of the day's second race.
Each team has one postponement card it can play to delay a race for any reason.
"We need to go back and regroup," admitted Oracle skipper Jimmy Spithill. "We feel they have an edge on us at the moment, especially upwind. We need to do a bit of work here and we're going to play the card, strategically, and hopefully improve in time for the next race."
Oracle won the start and led the first two legs. But a bold attempt at a foiling tack saw them slow dramatically.
"It wasn't the greatest tack either," Spithill said. "We got a bit out of phase as well."
The trailing Kiwis pounced on the third leg, skipper Dean Barker maneuvering out of less favorable currents and quickly building a lead of 300 meters with superior upwind speed.
"They've definitely got wheels upwind," Spithill said. "They're tacking the boat very well.
"We also got caught out with a sail change. We had a little bigger jib than them. I think that really hurt us on the upwind leg."
New Zealand won the race -- sailed in winds of 18 to 23 knots -- by 1:05, and seized back the momentum Oracle had gained with a victory in race four on Sunday.
"It's a tough way to win races, but it's working for us," Barker said of his crew's latest come-from-behind victory.
"We would like to be controlling our fate a little bit more around mark one, but it didn't quite work out on that one. They managed to get over us on the first reach."
Barker said New Zealand had plenty of things to work on, "but it's encouraging that we could get back into the race like we did."
The Kiwi's fourth victory of the series leaves them needing five more wins to seize the Cup from Oracle.
Oracle began the finals two points adrift after a pre-regatta penalty for cheating during the America's Cup World Series.
Their lone race victory has left them stuck on minus one, and needing 10 more wins to retain the Cup.
Races six and seven are now scheduled for Thursday, when the finals resume after a rest day.
Spithill said changes were in store for Oracle, with the decision to use their one opportunity to postpone a race a "collective" one.
"We're all in agreement," he said. "We need to make a few steps and we're not going to hide from that. We're going to work hard now and tomorrow."
However, asked about rumors that tactician John Kostecki's job was on the line, Spithill declined to comment, insisting the team's main goal is to improve its boat speed.
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