America’s Cup entrant Team New Zealand, in a move typical of Kiwi bravado, has gone out on a limb (should we say plank to maintain a nautical alliteration?) by taking the risk to race against Ben Ainslie Racing as their opponent in a semifinal in this week’s racing at the America’s Cup in Bermuda.
The upside is that, if they can beat Ainslie, one of the most successful sailboat racers of all time, they can gain ground (water?) in the starting box.
It would be something of a David v Goliath affair, as Ben Ainslie, at this point in the billionaire cup regatta, has the best record.
One source describes the match as, “An intensive learning experience for the (New Zealand) team. That may pay additional dividends in the form of exposing them to the type of aggressive approach to yacht racing practiced by Australia’s Jimmy Spithill, the leader of the U.S.’s Oracle Team, who not only does his talking on the water, but is also known to be loquacious off it.
Oracle beat the Kiwis in the final day of the qualifying series, after which, rather than praising them, Spit hill had this to say, “Both times we’ve raced Team NZ they’ve made some pretty fundamental mistakes – at the start line today, and then at the top mark again, just like the first time we lined up.”
That, as they say in some parts, is “trash talk” of a major degree, as there is still some semblance of sportsmanship in yacht racing.
Those comments came after Team Oracle completely outclassed the Emirates Team New Zealand boat and crew, even though the Kiwis managed to account for early mistakes to close the gap by the mid-point of the third leg.
Team New Zealand then made a tactical error of tacking underneath the U.S. boat, when crossing would have given them the lead.