America's Cup 2017: Team New Zealand 'really excited' by Oracle rivalry, smack-talk - Peter Burling
Emirates Team New Zealand skipper Peter Burling says they have a "pretty good idea" of what Oracle are going to bring in the America's Cup final - and warned that his team has "still got some things to come".
Speaking to The AM Show on Wednesday morning, Burling said they're looking forward to working on their boat in the week leading up to that showdown, and spoke of the achievement of winning the Louis Vuitton Cup final 5-2 against Artemis.
"It's obviously a massive milestone for us as a team to be through to the Cup final, and be able to take on Oracle next week," he said.
"We definitely feel like we've come a long way in the last couple of weeks and we've faced a fair bit of adversity with the likes of that capsize and a few other bits and pieces.
"But it's really brought us together and made us a better unit, and we feel like we're in better shape to go next week."
Burling says they have a reasonable idea of what their rivals have up their sleeve this week, and says that having already seen Oracle's wings and spars, they know what they'll come up against.
"I'm pretty sure we'll be going up against not quite the same Oracle as we went up against in the Challenger Series - but at the same time, there's not a whole heap you can actually improve on other than how you're sailing the boat," he said.
"Whoever has the fastest boat in the last race will eventually win this thing."
Speaking on the rivalry between Team New Zealand and the side who came from 8-1 down to claim the Auld Mug in 2013, Burling said he's excited by the prospect of smack-talk and facing off with Oracle skipper Jimmy Spithill.
"We really enjoy that - they're all really good guys on the Oracle boat. We're really excited to get a bit of banter going between those blokes and ourselves."
Burling says the week's break leading up to the America's Cup is a good opportunity for their boat engineers to perform checks on the vessel, and work out ways to make it go faster as they prepare to race the cup holders.
"You definitely push it pretty hard but as you do that you learn ways of pushing it harder - and for ourselves we go out there and feel every day that we go quicker and improve on little areas," he said.
Burling said while Team New Zealand had been working hard just to get to the America's Cup final against Oracle, but warned their opponents that they "still have plenty of things coming along".
Team New Zealand enter the best-of-13 Cup match against Team USA, beginning with two races on Sunday (NZT). The defenders start with a one-point advantage after winning the qualifying series.