Kiwis beat Oracle in America's Cup opener in Bermuda

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 U.S. team.

After all, the 2013 America's Cup proved that no lead is safe.

Team New Zealand emerged battle-hardened from its challenger final win over Artemis and still had days to fine-tune the boat. That means they need to win eight races total to spirit the Auld Mug back to the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron in Auckland, where it resided from 1995 until 2003. "We've got to get faster, it's very obvious", Spithill said. "It was no coincidence that we saw the Kiwi spy boat out there - I just can't believe you guys fell for it again".

And then, saying he had a “leak” in the Kiwi camp, Spithill upstaged Burling when he said the Kiwis would pick Britain as their challenger semifinal opponent. Theyre going to be there when we need them.”.

The Kiwi sailors are doing their best to live up to all the kind words they are receiving from back home.

The American-backed crew benefited from a wind shift sailing upwind on leg five in Race 2 and made up a huge deficit, pulling right behind the Kiwis sailing through the gate mark.

"We worked had to get this, all the way through the Louis Vuitton America's Cup World Series in 2015 and 2016 and then in the Qualifiers a couple of weeks ago".

"It was such a tricky day for both teams, we made a few human errors with our boat handling that we need to work on and address." said Ashby "These guys are only going to get stronger, so we need to also".

An early mistake in race three proved costly for the USA team and they were unable to fight back as their rivals triumphed by nearly a minute.

"The motivation is always there", said Spithill, who is trying to win the America's Cup for the third straight time before he turns 38.

Burling is determined to use the five days to make sure Team USA are chasing a moving target.

"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. Olympic rowing champion Joe Sullivan replaced him for Race 4. "We're not going to hide from the truth".

New Zealand's biggest shock so far was to introduce a revolutionary cycling system on their 50-foot (15 metre) catamaran, which allows "cyclors" rather than traditional "grinders" to generate the hydraulic power needed to operate its high-tech "foils" and towering "wing" sail. That was enough for Burling to speed away around the seven-leg course for a 49-second victory.

  • Julie Sanders