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1st day goes to New Zealand

19 June 2017
1st day goes to New Zealand

The opening day of the 35th America's Cup Match delivered some truths as the Kiwi Challengers took back-to-back victories over Defender Jimmy Spithill's ORACLE TEAM USA in the first two races.

"We're more anxious about how to make the boat go quicker, how to get around the track quicker".

Emirates Team New Zealand passes a gallery of boats as they race Oracle Team USA during America's Cup match sailing competition, Saturday, June 17, 2017, in the Great Sound of Bermuda.

"Credit to Peter [Burling] and Emirates Team New Zealand because they made fewer mistakes to win both races". Then there is a five-day break before racing resumes on Saturday, June 24 - with the long range weather forecast showing stronger winds.

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

"We will go away and look at what we need to improve because we all know for a fact that Jimmy (Spithill) won't give up and so we have to keep progressing".

"Clearly, now we need to put everything back on the table".

'But I think we did well enough to keep our elbows out and keep them behind us, after a couple of great starts'.

The U.S. crew, trying to win the cup for a third successive time after beating New Zealand in San Francisco in 2013, began the series with a one-point advantage after winning the earlier qualifying regatta.

Spithill has never lacked confidence, whether it was as the 20-year-old skipper of a bare-bones Aussie challenge in the 2000 Americas Cup, or at age 30 becoming the youngest skipper to win sailings biggest prize.

"We had some bad manoeuvres and then got stuck in some pretty light breeze", Burling said of the struggles as Oracle closed in.

Spithill is no stranger to adversity as he and his team made one of the biggest-ever comebacks in sporting history when they rallied from 8-1 down against New Zealand to win the "Auld Mug" in San Francisco in 2013 when the victor was the first to nine.

Further along the narrow hull of the catamaran is Blair Tuke, Burling's Olympic partner in the 49er skiff, who both cycles and adjusts the rake of the foils which allow the boat to lift out of the water and "fly".

Fellow Aussie John Bertrand, who beat Dennis Conner in 1983 to end the New York Yacht Club's 132-year America's Cup winning streak, said Spithill "is confident in that space".

"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.

Races 3 and 4 are scheduled Sunday.

Burling has barely engaged in the start box, keeping out of trouble and relying on boat speed to hand them an early advantage on the first two legs.

The always-crafty Kiwis are using a "cyclor" grinding system. "We thought we were coming back when we wanted to but as it turned out we were wrong, it is something we will have to go back and look at".