America’s Cup Match. Who will win this weekend?

It’s the question everyone wants answered – with some thoughts to ponder.

But in the absence of any real performance information as the teams retreated to modify their boats and train this week, it’s possible to make convincing arguments on both sides of the divide.

The truth is, just like this time last week, we’ll simply have to wait until this afternoon to be sure.

Last weekend we saw Emirates Team New Zealand dominate in similar conditions to what is forecast this weekend (light, 7-10 knots)

“We can’t hide from it. We have to get faster in those conditions,” was the way ORACLE TEAM USA skipper put it. “We need to make some serious changes.”

Spithill and his team have thrown everything at finding an answer to the Kiwi’s light wind speed. But it will be like trying to hit a moving target, as Emirates Team New Zealand will have been looking for gains too.

“We’re under no illusions here,” said Kiwi skipper Peter Burling who sits with a 3-0 lead. “We know if we stand still, those guys will be catching us, so we’re just going to keep pushing forward… It’s a lot harder for them if we do that.”

The real answers will be revealed tonight (Saturday), so for some fun, consider these arguments below.

ORACLE TEAM USA Will Come Back to Win Races this Weekend Because:

Jimmy Spithill.

● Skipper Jimmy Spithill, tactician Tom Slingsby, wing trimmer Kyle Langford and other sailors, designers, management and team members were central to the 2013 comeback. They know how to do this.

● The team has spent long hours on the water this week, refining its sailing techniques and testing new equipment that will make it faster around the race course. Just like in San Francisco, ORACLE TEAM USA is putting in the hard work on the water on these lay days.

● ORACLE TEAM USA has already beaten the Kiwis twice in the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup Qualifiers, so they know how to beat Team New Zealand.

● The team didn’t sail well on the opening weekend, so there is scope to improve.

● There is room in the design rule to make refinements to the daggerboard foils, and rudder elevators that could result in a significant speed gain.

Jimmy Spithill will win the starts and with an early lead, and improved boat speed, ORACLE TEAM USA will be able to hold off the Emirates New Zealand team.
● The forecast is for similar conditions on both days this weekend, so ORACLE TEAM USA can aggressively target its improvements to a narrow wind range.

● The Kiwis are not unbeatable; they’ve lost two races in each stage of the event so far.

● When Jimmy Spithill’s ORACLE TEAM USA has faced Emirates Team New Zealand in a ‘must win’ situation (the 2013 America’s Cup, the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series Fukuoka, the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup Qualifiers) it has always won.

Emirates Team New Zealand Will Win the America’s Cup Because:

Peter Burling.

● Did you watch the racing last weekend?!?!

● The Kiwis have taken a big step forward. In their final race against Artemis Racing and the first four races against ORACLE TEAM USA they never looked threatened at any point in the races.

● Control, control, control. The Kiwi control system allows them to tack the boat with a frightening consistency that the American defender can’t match.

● Peter Burling and Blair Tuke have won just about every major event they’ve entered in the past four years, including an Olympic Gold medal. These guys are winners.

● Although Glenn Ashby is the only sailor on the race crew to return from the 2013 loss, the team has learned from the experience and won’t repeat the mistakes of San Francisco. This team is not scarred, only stronger, for the experience.

● There has been no sign of Peter Burling’s perceived weakness in the pre-start. He is not intimidated by Jimmy Spithill and will ensure his team gets off the line in good shape.

● While ORACLE TEAM USA may find some speed improvements this week, so will Emirates Team New Zealand, neutralizing any gain the American team makes.

● Pedal Power! The innovative cyclors allow more power in the system for trimming the wing and foils, which translates into stable flight and more speed.

● Did you watch the racing last weekend?!?!