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Kiwis beat Oracle in 1st 2 America's Cup races in Bermuda

19 Juin 2017

The Kiwis started this series on minus-one point because they were the challengers, but four wins from the opening four races as them well-placed for victory.

So, the big question. They won by 30 seconds, still showing their dominance in light wind.

At the start of the race, both teams were extremely close as they crossed the start line, and Oracle Team USA had a small advantage as they approached the first mark. That means they need to win eight races while Oracle needs to win seven.

"We're really excited about the challenge of the next five days, of taking the next step on our boat as well of pushing the performance", said the 26-year-old Kiwi, who has spoken repeatedly of the steep learning curve faced by all the teams racing the America's Cup catamarans. “We‘ve got a lot of resource up here at the moment and we will be looking at every single thing we can.

Other than the Kiwis remaining fast in light conditions, theres not much of a conclusion to draw yet.

"We're happy to take those four wins because it is no secret that we are here to win the America's Cup".

New Zealand are trying to expunge the bitter memory of 2013, when they led the United States 8-1 only to fall 9-8 as Oracle mounted one of the great comebacks in sports history in San Francisco.

Still, this isnt the start the powerhouse Oracle squad expected. "We need to go faster, it's pretty obvious".

“Today we sailed a fair bit better than yesterday, but we also made a lot of mistakes and feel were a bit away from where we could be.” Burling added. But we had our opportunities.

The penalty handed the initiative to Emirates Team New Zealand, and Peter Burling took full advantage, sailing well clear of his rival Spithill, holding a 32 second lead by the turn at the second gate.

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But the Americans aren't to be ruled out of proceedings given their tag as favorites to secure a third straight title.

For a few dramatic minutes, it looked like Spithill was going to salvage a split of Saturday's races.

The Aussie said the crew needed to up its game for the next races.

Spithill thinks the splashdown was caused by a problem with one of the rudders.

In 2013 Oracle Team USA made use of some lay days to make crucial tweaks to their boat set-up and changed some personnel, bringing in legendary British Olympic sailor Sir Ben Ainslie as tactician.

"We feel like were far from ideal today, and we've got a lot to improve on in the next few days".

"To have another couple of points on the board is really good".

Burling kept his composure, rounding the fifth gate with his 49 second advantage intact, and from that point there was no looking back Emirates Team New Zealand crossed the finish line almost a minute ahead of the USA team and Burling claimed his third victory on the trot in the America's Cup Match, presented by Louis Vuitton.

Spithill told his crew: “Hang in there.”.

Races 3 and 4 are scheduled Sunday.