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Bernie Wilson: Kiwis pedaling toward possible America's Cup upset

HAMILTON, BER – The Kiwis replaced grinders and their arm power with the cyclors. Their pedaling powers the hydraulic systems used to trim the wingsail and raise and lower the daggerboards, or retractable centerboards, that are tipped with hydrofoils. When the cats reach a certain speed, they rise up on the leeward daggerboard and rudders, with the hulls completely out of the water. Daggerboards on both hulls are in the water for a few moments during tacks and gybes. The actual sailing is done by helmsman Peter Burling, 26, an Olympic gold and silver medalist; skipper Glenn Ashby, 39, an Olympic silver medalist and multihull whiz who controls the wingsail with an Xbox-like device; and Blair Tuke, 27, Burling’s Olympic teammate who has a dual role of cyclor and foil trimmer. This is the first time cyclists have powered a boat in the America’s Cup match. A Swedish team tried a cycling system in an unsuccessful challenge in 1977. “If you have half a brain and you know that your legs are stronger than your arms, why wouldn’t you give it a go?” [Kiwi cyclor Simon] van Velthooven said. Team New Zealand won the first four races against Oracle Team USA last weekend and leads 3-0. It started with a negative point because Oracle Team USA, owned by billionaire Larry Ellison, won the qualifiers. Racing resumes Saturday. –The esteemed Bernie Wilson in today's report from Bermuda for the Associated Press. Full story.

ACEA photo via the AP, snapper unknown.

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