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America's Cup

Kiwis plan for Their America's Cup

With the second, and possibly final, weekend of America's Cup racing starting this Saturday, the Kiwi media is already floating plans for the 36th AC in New Zealand.

If Emirates Team New Zealand win the Cup, the expectation is that it will move to Auckland and holding a defence in the inner Waitemata Harbour.

Although it could also be held in Dubai, where the main New Zealand sponsor Emirates Airline is based.

Defender Oracle Team USA signed up to an agreement with four of the other challengers earlier this year to hold a series of match races around the world and the "Cup" race every two years in foiling catamarans as in Bermuda.

The New Zealand team boycotted that agreement as being against the spirit of the original Deed of Gift that controls the Cup format.

The New Zealand team have not said so far what they will do if they win the cup back, but a move to Auckland is most likely.

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The other change could be in the type of boat used, although the public now expect fast foiling multihulls and short easy to follow races.

A move back to monohulls, even with foils, could be difficult to sell to sponsors, the public and the all important TV media.

All this could become clearer this weekend when the second tranch of four races take place in Bermuda.

ETNZ are 3-0 up in the first-to-seven series, having won the first four races (Oracle stated with a point advantage).

They now need to win four more races to reach the winning margin of seven points that will determine the winner of the 35th America’s Cup.

Both teams have been in this position before, with the famous come-back by Oracle Team USA at the 34th edition to catch and beat ETNZ in a nail-biting series.

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Jimmy Spithill and the Oracle team have had five days to work on their boat to try and match the speed and handling of Pete Burling and ETNZ.

Most likely we will see modified boards on Oracle as they try to ctatch the Kiwis, but ETNZ have also been testing modified light weather boards this week.

There have also been rumours that Oracle had issued a claim on non-compliance against ETNZ after the measurers had spent an hour and a half at the Oracle base following up on concerns raised.

Each team has just one formal protest or "claim of non-compliance" that they can use, but no formal statement was issued.

Note that when either of the teams reach four points, ACEA COO Sam Hollis, acting as "Commercial Commissioner," can declare that there will be three races rather than two the following day.

Thus two races are scheduled for Saturday 24 June, and if ENTZ reach four points, then three races could be held on Sunday 25 June.

Can the Kiwis dare to dream?

Racing starts at 14:00 in Bermuda, 18:00 hrs UK time.