Peter Burling was surprisingly forthright, when asked about the rumoured speed edge.

Team New Zealand are confident they will have superior boat speed in the America’s Cup match, though whether that will make the decisive difference against Luna Rossa won’t be known until later this week.
The Kiwi syndicate usually tend to play things down and don’t like to give too away ahead of competition, preferring to let their deeds do the talking.
But Peter Burling was surprisingly forthright, when asked about the rumoured speed edge that Te Rehutai is expected to have over Luna Rossa.
Towards the end of today’s media conference, after all kinds of angles and tangents had been explored, an Italian journalist finally cut to the chase.
“Peter tell us the truth do you really think you have the faster boat?”
Burling could have been ambiguous maybe emphasising that no one know really knows until racing starts but was refreshingly honest.
“I definitely hope so,” laughed Burling, before continuing his assessment.
“You know, I definitely think there are a lot of conditions where I am relatively confident, we do have a faster boat,” said the 30-year-old, an analysis that will confirm the optimism among local fans.
“There’s obviously a lot of conditions where Luna Rossa has proved to be very strong, you know, especially against some of the other challengers but a lot of those have been areas that we’ve been making some pretty big strides forward in the last few months. It’s been a pretty good period of development for us as a team [and] we’re really excited about getting into this first race [on Wednesday].”
The Italians have looked fast in the lighter breezes since the first sight of these boats in December, and throughout the Challenger series Luna Rossa appeared sleek and comfortable whenever the wind was around 10 knots or less. They were able to get up on their foils easier than their opponents and maintain manoeuvrability with seemingly less effort.
If that was Luna Rossa’s strength, performance in the light air was also seen as a potential weakness for the New Zealanders. Nothing like the showstopper it was for Ineos Team UK, but a potential Achilles heel nonetheless.
But not anymore, according to Burling, after significant progress over the last three months.
“I think we’ve made pretty big gains across the board, but probably especially in the lighter airs,” said Burling. “The light air was probably our most perceived weakness in the Christmas Cup but now it’s been something that we really feel like we’ve made some pretty massive steps forward in that area. We’re pretty happy with our performance in that area now.”
When asked to reflect on their body of work over the last three years, Burling left no doubt about their priorities and focus.
“As a syndicate we’ve really tried to push the speed aspect,” said Burling. “You talk to anyone about America’s Cup racing and if you’re not fast enough, you’re not in the yacht race.
“We’ve done everything we can to try and get the fastest package possible and in more recent times it’s been around making sure we don’t have any massive downsides to that.
“So, we have pushed hard to have our hull very hydrodynamically [set], [with] low drag at the take-off points and now we’re really happy with the package we put together.
“But you know looking across the way, the Italians have put together a pretty nice package as well so that’s what makes it all the more exciting come tomorrow.”
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