America's Cup sailors have social media #battleofbermuda

But the Kiwis, the hard-luck losers to Oracle in 2013, later came off their foils during a difficult maneuver and slowed dramatically in light, shifty wind, losing half their lead.

Defending champions the US began the best-of-13 series with a one-point advantage after winning the earlier qualifying regatta, which was erased by New Zealand's race-one win.

With the pressure now off, Burling guided his team around the sixth and final gate and coasted to the finish line an entire minute and 28 seconds ahead of Jimmy Spithill's ORACLE TEAM USA, taking not only their second successive win of day one, but also moving into a one point advantage in the battle for the "Auld Mug".

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 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. “We‘ve got a lot of resource up here at the moment and we will be looking at every single thing we can. Clearly we need to now put everything back on the table.

"I think we've made it no secret that we're over the moon by the support we get from back home", Burling said.

Oracle does have history on its side. Coutts successfully defended the Americas Cup in 2000 before jumping to Swiss startup syndicate Alinghi of Switzerland and sweeping his former team in 2003. While no one knows who will win the America's Cup - the dynamics in play now are very different from 2013.

But the Americans aren't to be ruled out of proceedings given their tag as favorites to secure a third straight title. "The team's hungry. They're a very, very competitive group".

Burling, a 26-year-old who has won Olympic gold and silver medals with grinder Blair Tuke, again appeared unflappable.

"The boat's going really fast and the boys are doing a really good job just to get around the track nice and smooth", he said. "We felt we really improved a lot on yesterday".

"Their acceleration was pretty impressive on the line". "I know we're much happier starting where we are, without being down on the scoreboard". Both teams have modified their boats and the two light wind duels showed the Kiwis' pace. They have also made the right choices on which foils to use on the ends of their daggerboards.

The kiwi on a bike is a reference to Team New Zealand's innovative grinding system in which it has replaced traditional coffee-grinder winches with stationary bikes to tap the grinders' leg power instead of arm power.

  • Julie Sanders