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Experts: Team NZ crew superior but Oracle faster

PUBLISHED: 9:49AM Thursday August 29, 2013 Source: ONE Sport

Team New Zealand should be faster than Oracle in strong winds, says one America's Cup expert, but lighter winds forecast for September would suit the America's Cup holders perfectly.

That's the view of Artemis skipper Nathan Outteridge, who told the San Francisco Chronicle  that Oracle looked to have the faster boat, one week out from the start of the America's Cup finals.

 Outteridge and former America's Cup tactician Gary Jobson have seen plenty of both Team New Zealand and Oracle in San Francisco recently.

Yet, in a critical analysis offered to the Chronicle, Outteridge favoured Oracle's superior boat while Jobson leaned towards Team New Zealand's crew work, as the difference maker.

"Oracle's boat, to me, seems like a faster boat - with a better chance to get top speeds, but it's a harder boat to sail," Outteridge said.

"Team New Zealand's boat seems to be a tiny bit slower, but they can push it to 100%."

Team NZ had a stronger boat which would be more effective in high winds. But in milder winds, the edge shifted to Oracle.

"They designed their boats for September, when the winds are typically lighter."

The 27-year-old Aussie also expected Oracle skipper Jimmy Spithill "to be quite aggressive in the starts and really try to push it to Dean."

Daily "combat sessions" with Ben Ainslie in Oracle's second boat had Spithill primed to take-on Barker at start-time.

While the Artemis skipper expected both crews to be "polished", Jobson, a former victorious America's Cup tactician, saw things differently, calling Team New Zealand "a well-choreographed Broadway show" while offering this view of Oracle: "There's a lot of unevenness in their crews, and the boat doesn't seem quite as steady."

He'd watched Spithill's Oracle boat 14 times racing Ainslie, and said there might be one other factor favouring Team New Zealand.

"There's a big difference when you're sailing for your country and just about every member of your crew is from your country.

"It's a mission.

"Can the mission of sailing for your country overcome a gigantic machine?"

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