June 18, 2017: BERMUDA - ORACLE Team USA entered the start box for Race-4 desperate for a win and desperate for boat speed. In spite of some aggressive maneuvering in the start box by Jimmy Spithill, Emirates' cool headed Peter Burling held ORACLE off and took the start.
Reaching to Mark-1, Burling and team gave Spithill spoiled air off their wing and never looked back. They rounded Mark 1 and headed downwind increasing their lead to 650 meters on the downwind leg. Again, Emirates showed an impressive speed advantage downwind, at times more than 4 knots faster than ORACLE.
"Unflappable Peter Burling takes the start in Race-4 on Sunday" - photo credit © Gilles Martin Roget | ACEA
Although ORACLE looked better going upwind and they managed to cut the lead to 435 meters, they were simply no match for Emirates who stretched the lead back over 500 meters heading into Mark-5. At the mark, Emirates rounded with a full 1-minute lead and continued to use their speed advantage to stretch the lead to almost 900 meters.
Leaving Mark-6 to starboard, Emirates accelerated to 33 knots and delivered a crushing fourth defeat to ORCALE Team USA, crossing the finish line 1 minute 12 seconds ahead. On the final leg, ORACLE was only able to reach 30 knots.
Emirates Team New Zealand have dug a deep hole for ORACLE Team USA and Spithill a Team need to find boat speed on the next five lay days, or it's over. But Spithill has faced such adversity before and never quits as evidenced by his come from 8 down win in 2013 in San Francisco. You can bet the Spithill and team will be making changes to the boat over these next lay days to try and find boat speed.
26-year old Peter Burling might as well be call "Cool Hand Luke." He seems unflappable and definitely has New Zealand fans on their feet cheering. But, during press conferences it's clear that Burling doesn't count ORACLE Team USA out just yet. But he says he and his team come to Bermuda to take the Cup back to New Zealand and if things continue this way, he may well do that.
"New Zealand fans celebrate a fourth victory" - photo credit © Richard Hodder | Emirates Team New Zealand
After four straight wins the score stands at New Zealand 3 / USA 0.
Randy White reporting live from the 35th Americas Cup