Kiwis reach match point in America's Cup challenger finals

Team New Zealand have claimed the early advantage in their America's Cup challenger final, with a Swedish syndicate self-destruction handing the Kiwis a 2-1 lead on Saturday.

Helmsman Nathan Outteridge, right, celebrates a race win with teammates in the America's Cup Challenger Play-offs off the coast of Bermuda this week.

The next races are due to take place on Sunday.

"We have come back from worse before", Percy added.

The results allowed the Kiwi boat to take a 4-2 lead in the best-of-nine series, needing just one win from three on the third and final day of the series to book their spot in the official Cup match against Oracle Team USA.

Peter Burling didn't like what he saw here.

"The boys dug deep and the legs were pretty exhausted by the end", Burling said with reference to the team's revolutionary "cyclors" who use pedals rather than traditional arm-driven winches powered by "grinders" to provide the hydraulic power needed to control the boat's wing sail and foils.

The result takes Team New Zealand once step closer to a Cup Match with Team USA, with a ideal showing on Sunday - in the lighter breezes forecast for Bermuda - enough to send them through.

Emirates Team New Zealand have six Olympians in their squad, while Artemis have a total of eight, including Britain's Iain Percy, who won two golds and a silver across three Olympics from 2000 to 2012.

New Zealand came from behind in the second encounter as Burling was able to outsmart his long-time sailing rival Outteridge in a tacking duel in winds which had dropped slightly and favoured the longer foils his team had chosen to use.

After an even start, the Swedish team snuck ahead on the first leg and held on for a comfortable victory, despite one occasion where they appeared to lose control of their boat.

  • Salvatore Jensen