CALM BEFORE THE STORM

With the final pre-race press conference concluded the talking has stopped, the phoney war is over and the real battle is about to begin on the water.

For Emirates Team New Zealand it’s the culmination of a long and difficult journey along which they’ve had to overcome all manner of obstacles.

As Peter Burling told the world’s media: “It’s taken a massive effort to get this far. We’ve faced a lot of adversity over the last couple of weeks with things like the capsize, but our shore crew really dug deep to get us a boat that is fully back to 100 per cent and we are just really excited to get into it.” 

The 26 year old helmsman, paid tribute to the support the team has been getting from New Zealand: “Having the Kiwi fans back home supporting us and getting behind us is something we really appreciate and it really inspires us to keep fighting hard and keep pushing forward, and I am sure it is going to be one hell of a battle out there on the water.”

And thanks to the level of competition through the Louis Vuitton Challenger Series, the team is feeling battle-hardened: “We feel we are a lot harder team after the racing we’ve had and it’s full credit to the challengers for the way they pushed us in the series. And we definitely feel that we are a lot tougher than we were a few weeks ago.”

© Richard Hodder

Burling also touched on the disappointment of four years ago in San Francisco and alluded to the fact only one sailor from the 34th America’s Cup is still on the boat…skipper Glenn Ashby…and the other five first-choice crew are all under 30 years of age: "We all remember San Francisco and how close we did get,” he said. “And we definitely learned a lot of lessons and we are a lot stronger and different team now than we were back then.”

Asked about going into the match already a point down to Oracle, Burling again looked to history to make his case, referring to the American team going into the last Cup with a deficit: “It didn’t seem to matter too much who went into the last Cup a couple of points down, so I don’t imagine it will matter much this time. 

“For ourselves the America’s Cup is one of the unique sporting trophies where it’s all about who wins the last race not the first and that’s what we’ve been set up to do.” 

Earlier the crew took Aotearoa out onto the Great Sound for some final tests before the sailors left early to go home and rest up. 

It’s quiet on the Emirates Team New Zealand base, the calm before the storm in Bermuda. 

The calm before the storm