WATERSPORTS

NZ increase lead over USA in America's Cup

Peter Burling steered Emirates Team New Zealand to another runaway victory against Jimmy Spithill and two-time defending champion Oracle Team USA in Race 3 of the America's Cup to remain undefeated in the showdown on the Great Sound.

Although they've won three races, the Kiwis lead Oracle 2-0. Because Oracle won the qualifiers, the challenger started the 35th America's Cup match with a negative point.

Oracle made an unforced error when its 50-foot catamaran came off its foils early on the downwind second leg. That was enough for Burling to speed away around the seven-leg course for a 49-second victory.

So far, the Kiwis and their cycling grinding system have proven too fast for Oracle in light, shifty wind.

They've also made the right choices on which foils to use on the ends of their daggerboards. The Kiwis used the same foils they did in speeding to two victories on Saturday while the American-backed crew appeared to use two different foils.

Team New Zealand needs to win six more races to return the Auld Mug to the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron in Auckland, where it resided from 1995-2003. Oracle needs to win seven to keep the silver trophy in the hands of American software billionaire Larry Ellison.

The 26-year-old Burling is an America's Cup rookie. He has won Olympic gold and silver medals with grinder Blair Tuke.

Spithill, an Australian, is trying to win his third straight America's Cup before he turns 38.

AP