Team NZ notches sixth win in America's Cup
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Emirates Team NZ has sealed two more wins on its way to America’s Cup victory after the sixth and seventh races were sailed in light conditions on San Francisco Harbour.
This puts New Zealand at six wins and just three to go against Oracle’s one win plus a minus point from its two-point penalty before the series started.
The Cup defender again won the start in the first race with a perfect blocking manoeuvre but hardly put up challenge in the second race, in which Team NZ led from start to finish.
It was Team NZ’s best start of the series and it soon led by 40m as the yacht showed its paces in the light conditions.
The New Zealanders pushed their lead to 7sec or 97m on the first leg and soon left Oracle well behind with 250m margin.
This moved to 400m and left Oracle in a hopeless position as Team NZ approached the final marker on the upward leg.
It was then an easy run to the line with Team NZ crossing 66sec ahead of Oracle.
In the first race, Oracle opened up a 70m or 9sec lead at the first marker, demonstrating its faster speed going down wind and maintained its lead in the lighter conditions and winds of about 15kph.
Team NZ challenged for the lead several times was comfortably ahead by more than 100m at half way on the upwind leg.
Oracle lost speed during a tacking duel on the upward leg while Team NZ’s lead extended to 150m.
Team NZ held a 44-sec lead through the third turn and easily cruised to the line on the final leg.
Racing resumes on Sunday and Monday, giving Team NZ ample opportunity for three more wins to lift the Cup.
Based on earlier estimates of Cup defences in 200 and 2003, the country will benefit by more than $500 million if Team NZ completes a sweep of the series.
Much of this will depend on whether the 2017 event can attract a large number of teams capable of competing with the new generation of racing yachts.
The scaled-down 2013 series in San Francisco will have an economic value of at least $US500 million, though original hopes were for $US1.4 billion.