• ETNZ "grinders" using their legs. Photo Hamish Hooper/ETNZ
    ETNZ "grinders" using their legs. Photo Hamish Hooper/ETNZ
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The America's Cup is never short on rumour and inuendo. This report on Stuff.co.nz suggests that Oracle's spies have reported that Team New Zealand are quicker through their manoeuvres, possibly as a result of using peddle power instead of upper body strength to grind power into the hydraulics. The report originated in Italy and anyone who remembers how the Luna Rossa syndicate (headed by Max Sirena who now works for ETNZ) fired plenty of bullets on behalf of ETNZ at the 34th Match in San Francisco will be wondering if this is "fake news" or uses "alternative facts". Only time will tell.

Stuff.co.nz

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 27 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.

 
"So Oracle may follow them in this innovation to catch up. Maybe even hiring some champions on two wheels," they continued, suggesting proven cyclists could be used, though the compromise would be getting them up to speed quickly in terms of sailing techniques.

Read the full story here.

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