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Australians vying for America's Cup glory

26 May 2017

SAILING: There's no Australian team, but that won't stop some of the country's best sailors setting out to make their mark on this year's America's Cup.

Australians hold key roles in three teams, with James Spithill to again skipper two-time defending champions Oracle Team USA.

Spithill is accompanied by the team's trimmer-tactician Tom Slingsby, who won a Laser class gold medal for Australia at the London Olympics in 2012.

Nathan Outteridge, also a London gold medallist, is skipper-helmsman of Sweden's Artemis Racing.

Spithill is fast becoming an America's Cup great.

The Sydney product made his debut in 1999 as a 19-year-old at the helm of Young Australia, before becoming the youngest skipper to win a Cup in 2010 by steering Team USA to victory.

In 2013, he was at the helm of one of the greatest comeback wins in sporting history when the USA fought back from 8-1 down to beat Team New Zealand in the best-of-17 series.

"What's done in history's done, and it's about this America's Cup," Spithill, 37, told reporters on Friday (AEST).

"The hunger has only become stronger and somewhat of an obsession as well. We're even more obsessed with this."

The start of the Cup in Bermuda has been pushed back 24 hours until Saturday due to unfavourable weather conditions.

Crews representing Britain, France, Japan, New Zealand and Sweden will over the next two-and-a-half weeks seek to win the right to challenge Team USA for the title in the America's Cup match starting June 17.

The opening match-ups will see Team USA against Team France, Artemis Racing against Team Japan, France versus the Peter Burling-skippered Team New Zealand, and Artemis against Britain's Land Rover BAR.

Sensing the another big push for the Cup by the Kiwis, Spithill has engaged in pre-race mind games by suggesting division within the ranks of Team NZ.

Outteridge identified Team USA as the team to beat but was quietly confident about his team's prospects.

"We've had a bit of an up-and-down world series event and I think that's been good for our team to find the right way to approach the America's Cup," he said.

"We've enjoyed all the practice racing recently, we're pretty happy with how the boat's going. I think in match racing you do have to go big or go home, we're going be doing everything we can."

AAP

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