America's Cup 2021: 'Scary' fast Team New Zealand want to do talking on the water as war of words heats up

America's Cup holders Emirates Team New Zealand have been described as "scary" and "intimidating" by the fallen INEOS Team UK syndicate.

But Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli co-helmsman Francesco Bruni isn't so sure, assessing that Kiwi steerer Peter Burling lacks experience, sparking the first signs of a war of words that is as part of the America's Cup as the sailing.

But Team New Zealand emit a real sense that they are sick of racing themselves and upset that COVID-19 Alert Level 3 restrictions have forced a delay in the cup match.

"Just looking forward to getting into racing really," skipper Glenn Ashby tells Newshub.

The defenders haven't raced a competitive leg in more than 80 days and like any elite sports team, they're sick of training and all the off-water talk.

Ashby is amused by Bruni's comments on Burling, pointing towards two Olympic gold medals, several world titles and an America's Cup victory four years ago. 

"It depends what experience you're talking about," chuckles Ashby. "If it's life experience, he's a bit younger than Francesco and a few of the other guys, but when it comes to sailing experience, he's well up there.

"He'll be just fine."  

And while the locals have only been able to practice against sailing coach Ray Davies in a chase boat, the Team NZ boat has turned heads with their moves on the water.

The waterfront is buzzing with talk Team New Zealand have a major speed advantage, with the boss of Ineos Team UK even going so far as saying, if they were racing the Kiwis, they'd be intimidated by their performance." 

"When we go and watch the Kiwis sail, they turn on some really impressive performances - but what we've seen of their performance, they're pretty scary," says chief executive Grant Simmer.

As well as sheer speed, they've also left nothing on the table design-wise, unveiling a spinnaker-like gib, designed for racing right at the bottom of the wind range.

"In certain conditions, like a car going up a hill, you need more horsepower quickly," Ashby says. 

But until they swap out the chase boat for the challengers next Wednesday, no-one truly knows exactly what Te Rehutai is capable of.

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