Published: Sun, June 25, 2017
Sport | By Wendy Sparks

America's Cup - it's a great start for Team New Zealand

America's Cup - it's a great start for Team New Zealand

Although they've won four races, the Kiwis lead Oracle 3-0. The Americans had gone in with a one-point advantage thanks to topping the qualifying round-robin.

With Olympic 49er gold medalists Peter Burling and Blair Tuke to lead the team, New Zealand have started powerfully and taken advantage of early mistakes approaching the first mark from the USA team.

With the racing being held on the weekends in Bermuda, there is now five-days before race five and six.

Well-funded Oracle Team USA — Ellison is worth an estimated $55 billion — has five days to come up with some answers to try to counter the spot-on design innovations by the scrappy, underfunded Kiwis, who almost folded after their epic collapse in the 2013 Americas Cup on San Francisco Bay.

Skipper Jimmy Spithill, who is trying to pilot the US to a third straight America's Cup title, virtually gifted the challengers the opening race when he was seconds early across the startline.

"I think it's pretty obvious these guys are faster and we need to make some serious changes", a glum-looking Spithill said.

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

"It's very, very challenging to sail the boats well, and at the end of the day, we made more than [Team NZ]".

Oracle does have history on its side.

Peter Burling, helmsman for Emirates Team New Zealand, left, shakes hands with skipper and helmsman Jimmy Spithill for Oracle Team USA, right, in front of the America's Cup trophy, known as the "Auld Mug", before a news confere.

New Zealand continued to excel in light-wind sailing and again showed superior speed over the US boat.

Coutts has been the CEO of Oracle Team USA since it beat Alinghi in 2010.

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Smack talk is hardly new in the America's Cup.

Spithill, the pugnacious Australian who is seeking to take Team USA to a third straight America's Cup crown in the first-to-seven match that starts on Bermuda's Great Sound on Saturday, showed his skill in the verbal pre-start on Friday as he dodged questions about reports that the defenders could be prepared to launch a second boat. That still looks good to a nation of armchair-based instant sailing experts, glued to every race on the TV back home.

"But Peter Burling is young and he learns very quickly and he has a good boat. he's very confident with the speed of his boat and with that you can compete better", Cammas said, adding that Spithill's ability to come out fighting even when his back is against the wall will count for a lot.

"The amount of Kiwis that have also travelled up here, the flags that are around the village - we just really appreciate the support and it inspires us to keep pushing on".

"Our team's really hungry to keep learning, keep moving forward, keep improving". "It was no coincidence that we saw the Kiwi spy boat out there - I just can't believe you guys fell for it again".

But the Kiwis later came off their foils during a hard maneuver and slowed dramatically in the tough conditions, losing half their lead.

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