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‘We’re not taking anything for granted’

Emirates Team New Zealand helmsman Peter Burling (Photograph by Gregory Bull/AP)

Peter Burling, the Emirates Team New Zealand helmsman, insists his team will not get carried away with their five-race lead and that they “still have a job to do”.

Despite being on the brink of winning the “Auld Mug”, Burling said Team New Zealand will prepare for today’s racing in the same way as they have the previous eight races.

Burling steered them to a pair of comfortable wins over Oracle Team USA yesterday and was thrilled with the way the Kiwis recovered after losing their first race to the defenders on Saturday.

“We were absolutely delighted with how the day went,” Burling said. “We were disappointed to give away a race yesterday, but we certainly made up for it today.

“We’ve got a fantastic team and you can see that out on the water. We’ve all got the same understanding of what we want to achieve and we are all on the same page.

“Despite the lead, we won’t get ahead of ourselves because we still know we have a job to do and it’s still an incredibly tough ask.”

Burling, 26, was at the helm for NZL Sailing Team alongside trimmer Blair Tuke when they won the Red Bull Youth America’s Cup four years ago.

And he has more than held his own in the verbal sparring with Jimmy Spithill, the Oracle skipper, in the post-race press conferences and believes the extra pressure brings out the best in him.

“If you want to come all the way to Bermuda and win the America’s Cup, then you have to deal with immense pressure,” Burling said.

“As a group we feel the pressure is bringing the best out of us and we’ve more than answered those questions.

“I feel as though we’re continuing to learn and improve. We let our performance on the water do the talking.

“That’s the one thing that really excites us and keeps us motivated to keep moving on. We’re not taking anything for granted.”

The face of Team New Zealand, Burling maintains he is “a small part of a massive team” and is simply happy to contribute to their success.

“I do feel we improve really fast and we have a great bunch of people in the team, right across the design office and shore team,” said Burling, who won gold in the 49er class with Tuke at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.

“If we need to make changes, it’s impressive how quickly they turn things around. That week prior to this weekend, we did some pretty impressive changes to the boat.

“Our design team did a pretty amazing job in giving us a tool that we could go and throw around today.”