Kiwis beat Oracle in America's Cup opener in Bermuda

Claudine Rigal
Juin 19, 2017

“To see the amount of Kiwi flags here at the Village is unbelievable.

Result: The Challenger won both races, but are only up 1-0 due to the convoluted scoring system that benefited the Defender due to their performance earlier in the qualifier stage.

Team New Zealand needs to win six more races to return the Auld Mug to the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron in Auckland, where it resided from 1995 to 2003.

"We've got a couple of good starts, the boat's going really fast and the boys are doing a good job to get it around the racetrack nice and smoothly", said Kiwi helmsman Peter Burling.

"The margin blew out once more and at one stage Emirates Team New Zealand were ahead by 1'35", only to see the Americans find pressure and storm back to close within three seconds at mark five.

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. "These are going to be the most important five days of this America's Cup campaign for us, ' said the two-time victor of the America's Cup".

“Were also really appreciate of the support were getting from the Kiwi fans who have travelled up here as well as the locals who are supporting us.

The 26-year-old Burling is an America's Cup rookie.

"We tidied up a lot of those little errors we made yesterday around the course...our team's really hungry to keep learning and keep moving forward".

The five day break is a boon, added Spithill, who noted that the team didn't have almost that much time in 2013 when they were staring down defeat while trailing New Zealand 1-8 in San Francisco.

"I think it's pretty obvious - these guys are faster", Spithill responded when asked the difference so far between the two boats.

"Good boat speed and good manoeuvres, it's turning out quite nicely for us".

"We've got five days to respond now and everything is up for grabs".

But that won't stop others from drawing conclusions.

Team NZ suffered what appeared to be one minor mishap in race four, when their boat sunk off its foils in the start box.

“Were really happy with where the boats at and it was fantastic sailing out there today. "However, I've been here before, and it is still only a point!"

"We've been here before, it's not over", he said. "We're not going to hide from the truth".

"We need to go back and use those days wisely".

Although they won twice, by 30 seconds and 1 minute, 28 seconds, the Kiwis lead just 1-0.

However, Burling did not have it all his own way and mistakes began to creep in. New Zealand were well clear, and within sight of the line at the time.

The Kiwis continued their dominant form by winning both races in Bermuda on Sunday, adding to their two victories from race one and two on Saturday.

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

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