America's Cup: Team New Zealand relaxed about lost opportunity 'It was the right call'

Glenn Ashby doesnt anticipate a sleepless night on match point in the Americas Cup, with the senior Team New Zealand sailor brooking no argument with the decision to abandon the second race of the day.
Ashby, helmsman Peter Burling and the rest of the Team New Zealand crew sailed a brilliant first race of the match in Auckland on Tuesday to edge to a 6-3 advantage in the first-to-7 series for the most hallowed prize in yachting.

They looked well poised to seal the deal in style on the stadium course C off North Head in the Waitemata Harbour late in the day only for race director Iain Murray to call off the final race because of a shifting, unfavourable breeze.

Luna Rossa often had Team New Zealand hot on their tail in race nine of the Americas Cup

They, and indeed their entire nation, were left on tenterhooks, with a fourth Americas Cup triumph so close they can touch it.

* America's Cup: Luna Rossa lament "the Kiwi puff" that let Team NZ off the hook
* America's Cup: Regatta director Iain Murray quite right to call off racing with Team NZ at match point
* America's Cup: Weather gods intervene leaving Team New Zealand one win shy of retaining Auld Mug

We live to fight another day as well, said Ashby, trimmer on Te Rehutai and a key anggota of Burlings afterguard. Weve all done a lot of regattas and championships over the years. Its part of our sport, and were very much taking each day as it comes.

Its exciting to be able to get out there and race again. Whilst there is a little bit of what would have been, could have been and could they have started, were very comfortable with it and look forward to getting out there tomorrow.

Team NZ are one win away from America's Cup victory after eclipsing Luna Rossa late in race 9.

And, said Ashby, Murray made the only call he could have to abandon the days racing at 5.55pm.

It was absolutely the right call. A big left shift came through, and everyone was very happy with the decision. Were happy to get out there tomorrow and race on a fair race course.

Ashby, who was once Jimmy Spithill's coach in a former life in this event, reflected on a special run of form from Team NZ in this series. They have now won four races on the bounce, the last three of them in clutch mode from behind, to move within one victory of their crowning moment.

We go into each race very open-minded as to how were going to sail that race, said the man who has been part of the Team NZ setup since 2013. Sometimes you can have set plans and other times youve got to go freestyle and look at conditions and make decisions on the fly.

The boats travel very quickly, were sailing through puffs and lulls at a huge rate of knots. Its like dot to dot on steroids as were going upwind, and then sailing back through the same windshifts and pressure on the downwind.

The computing mentally Pete and the rest of the boys have to do on board is at such a fast pace sometimes you dont get time to have a conversation, you have to react and anticipate what the next moves are going to be before you even get there. These boys are experts at it.

David White/Stuff
Team NZ's Glenn Ashby and Luna Rossa helmsman Jimmy Spithill after Tuesday's press conference.

For all the skill, fortune also factors in, as Burling has already noted through this series with his better to be lucky than good comment.

Tuesdays race was essentially decided on the penultimate leg when Luna Rossa, in the lead, forced Team NZ to sail off to the right side while they went left. The Kiwis got the wind shift, the Italians didnt, and it was a mistake they were left to rue afterwards.

But both Ashby and Burling paid tribute to the Italians for their part in a classic match race that saw Luna Rossa lead through the first four gates, only to lose it with a tactical decision that backfired.

They've sailed extremely well," said Ashby of the Italians. It's been tough, the racing has been great in these boats, and, from a design perspective, not only are we getting high-performance yachting, but we are getting high-performance, high-speed match racing and that was showcased today in extraordinary fashion.

That was probably one of our more fun days racing and it was certainly great to be back on Course C, added Burling. It was a really close race. It felt like we got off to a pretty good start, Luna Rossa got on the right-hand side of us with a bit of a right-hand shift and we couldnt quite hold in there, so were on the back foot.

But we just kept fighting and trying to find opportunities. I dont know how many lead changes there were, but it was great to get the final shift and that was pretty much what it came down to.

It was just great to get out and show what these boats can do in shifty flat water. Were excited about getting back out there tomorrow. Its amazing to see all the Kiwi fans cheering on the event and supporting everyone here, and its great we get to go back out tomorrow and do it all again.


Our Partner