Why Burling is not worried about TNZ's lack of match-racing

Author
Newstalk ZB,
Publish Date
Mon, 22 Feb 2021, 9:57AM
Team New Zealand facing Luna Rossa in December. (Photo / NZ Herald)
Team New Zealand facing Luna Rossa in December. (Photo / NZ Herald)

Why Burling is not worried about TNZ's lack of match-racing

Author
Newstalk ZB,
Publish Date
Mon, 22 Feb 2021, 9:57AM

The pundits are worried about Team New Zealand's lack of racing going into the America's Cup, but skipper Peter Burling says it is actually an advantage.

Burling says TNZ's ability to push the design elements of their boat Te Rehutai will prove crucial in the America's Cup match race against Italy's Luna Rossa.

Luna Rossa's starting ace Jimmy Spithill was the dominant force in the Prada Cup demolition of Ineos Team UK.

And Team New Zealand, who haven't raced since the Christmas Cup, may be underdone come March 6 compared to the super-slick, racing-honed Italian crew.

But Burling has told Newstalk ZB's Mike Hosking that TNZ have no excuses on that front.

"If we hadn't planned well for this we wouldn't have done a good job – it's been in the calendar for over a year," he said.

"We've had a lack of racing but it is an opportunity to push the performance of the boat, develop the gear, while not having to be in a legal racing configuration.

"It is a really good opportunity to push the development and speed.

"At the end of the day the America's Cup is a boat speed race and as we saw with Ineos if you don't have enough speed, you're not going to win."

Burling even predicted that Te Rehutai would get "a whole heap quicker" during the America's Cup match race.

"Every day you go out and make a little gain," he said.

"You think you are getting towards the sharp end of it but you keep having these little breakthroughs, whether they are in certain areas or even from watching other teams and learning bits and pieces about their breakthroughs and applying them to our boat."

Burling also sounded extremely confident about the TNZ boat over a range of conditions.

He believed Luna Rossa were clearly the best potential challenger six months ago, before the Brits and American Magic played an impressive game of catch-up.

Luna Rossa is being praised for its light airs ability. But Burling ultimately analysed the Prada Cup outcome as coming down to Ineos being weak in those sorts of conditions.

"Luna Rossa stepped up a little bit – it will be a good battle for sure," he said.

"You need a decent boat and we're excited with our package.

"The weather plays into it a little bit – we've worked hard to have a package which is good all round and we're really happy with that."