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Wednesday, April 19, 2017
Americas Cup Rumor Mill Swirling

Are America's Cup defenders Oracle trying to copy Team New Zealand's radical pedal-powered approach?

That's the talk swirling the Bermuda waterfront as the countdown to the start of official racing on May 26th intensifies.

Team New Zealand are using cyclists to fuel the hungry hydraulics that power the control systems for the massive wingsail and foils. The other five syndicates have all opted for traditional arm-power grinding stations.

The theory that legs are stronger than arms appears undeniable and there have been suggestions the Kiwis could have as much as 40 per cent more power available through their innovative system.

A key to winning this America's Cup will be the ability to keep the foiling 50-foot catamarans stable in flight, especially through turns and power is central to that.

The cloak and dagger America's Cup is never shy of rumours and Italian daily newspaper La Stampa has floated the theory that Oracle Team USA might be ready to replicate the Kiwi system.

Italy don't have a team in this year's Cup following the early withdrawal of Luna Rossa in protest to Oracle changing the rules. But the regatta remains dear to the Italian sailing community.

Team New Zealand have a close relationship with Luna Rossa. They shared design ideas for the 2013 Cup and in this cycle the Italians provided the Kiwis with their test boat and some key personnel when they aborted their own challenge.

Team New Zealand are now in camp in Bermuda and about to put their new boat in the water. They can expect plenty of attention.

The stakes are incredibly high in this regatta. Oracle, Artemis Racing, Team Japan, Team France and BAR (Great Britain) have signed an agreement to keep the current format moving forward, even racing the America's Cup every two years.

Team New Zealand didn't sign off on that and have indicated they would return to a more traditional racing format for the cup.
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