America's Cup: It's a wild ride on the Team NZ rollercoaster

OPINION: Consistency remains the elusive quality for Team New Zealand as they continue to turn the Americas Cup match into a rollercoaster that has the country on the edge of its seat.
The series remains tied, now at 3-3 after three days of action that still defies all predictions and all sense.

Its a game of punch and counter-punch and its a matter of who can deliver a knockout blow of snaring two wins in a day.

RICKY WILSON/STUFF/Stuff
Team New Zealand and Luna Rossa keep the Americas Cup match on a knife-edge.

Saturday was a mental victory for Team New Zealand though and one they must now try to convert in the race to get seven wins to hold on to the Auld Mug.


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Somehow Peter Burling and his crew need to grab some momentum. One moment theyre bad, the next moment theyre brilliant.

And all of that contrasting form is coming in the starting box, which remains the most decisive zone of these races. Win the start, and you win the finish - its still as simple as that on these complex boats.

Team New Zealand had a shocker in race five, totally blowing their co-ordination, needing to kill time and dropping off their foils, watching Luna Rossa get a jump they couldnt claw back as Jimmy Spithill and Francesco Bruni sailed away to an 18s victory.


The Italians had finally broken the curse of the port entry and had the first double win day within their grasp.

They will be kicking themselves they couldnt convert that, because Spithill, the man in charge of their starting drills, virtually repeated the Kiwi error in race six as the Italian boat stalled.

But credit to Burling who held his cool to put a ton of pressure on the Pitbull to achieve that.

It was a massive rebound for the Team New Zealand skipper and his classy afterguard as they survived another huge character test, just as they did on Friday.

Their 1m 14s victory was a statement win, the largest margin of The Match.

They need to start making life easier for themselves and their fans.

RICKY WILSON/STUFF/Stuff
Team New Zealand look for position agaisnt Luna Rossa on Saturday.

That starts in the starting box because once Te Rehutai is clear, there is no stopping New Zealands radically shaped AC75.

The lead might be as crucial as speed, but there is no denying who has the outright gas.

Team New Zealand is seriously fast even though the Italian boat appears to be able to operate at tighter angles.

What a climax to the weekend we have on our hands, but what finish lies in store for this absorbing contest? Its turning into the equivalent of a tennis tie-breaker.


Super Saturday turned into survival Saturday because 2-4 would have been an absolute disaster for the defenders.

Some sloppy starts aside, there is the feeling that around the course, the Team New Zealand crew work is building beautifully. Short on race experience in these flying machines they are getting into their groove.

They just have to start putting everything together every time. Can they deliver a sensational Sunday?

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