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Suzanne McFadden: The secret weapon pushing Team NZ to victory

HAMILTON, BER – Team NZ’s crew arrangement is very different from that on board Oracle “17” – an area where many Cup critics say the Kiwis have another advantage. It’s a setup that works expressly for the ground-breaking systems the Kiwis have created on the boat. [Glenn] Ashby had a quiet chuckle when Oracle skipper Jimmy Spithill claimed the communication on board Team NZ was lacking because they don’t have a designated tactician, like Spithill’s fellow Aussie Tom Slingsby. “Talk is cheap at this stage of the game,” says Ashby (who, coincidentally taught Spithill how to sail a multihull for the 2010 America’s Cup).

While it’s true that Team NZ don’t have anyone wearing the tactician’s hat, they boast an afterguard troika - Burling, Ashby and Blair Tuke, the foil trimmer - all contributing to the tactics on board.

“We have three guys on our boat who are all actually looking around. You can call anyone whatever you like, but the way we have configured our boat is very much so that Pete doesn’t have to do a whole lot of things on the boat, and he can be looking around and making decisions,” Ashby says.

“I’d argue that we are in a stronger position than having someone specific to relay information back to the guy on the handlebars. We find it quite easy to communicate.”

–Excerpt from Suzanne McFadden's latest piece on the Cup for newsroom.co.nz. And as our Dear Readers will know from your Ed.'s previous articles, I, too, firmly believe that Glenn (who was an OTUSA colleague during the 2010 Cup) is a key contributor to the Kiwi's success, as is what I have called the "specialization of roles on the boat" as between Burning, Ashby and Tuke. Read Suzanne's full story here.

Glenn Ashby takes the wheel for Pete Burling in one hand and holds the controller in the other. Photo: ACEA 2017 / Ricardo Pinto via newsroom.co.nz