New Zealand beats Oracle in America's Cup opener in Bermuda

New Zealand beats Oracle in America's Cup opener in Bermuda

New Zealand beats Oracle in America's Cup opener in Bermuda

Emirates Team New Zealand moved into a 1-0 lead over Oracle Team USA after the first two races of the America's Cup.

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.

But the Kiwis came off their foils during a hard maneuver and slowed dramatically in light, shifty wind, losing half their lead. Emirates Team New Zealand faces Oracle Team USA in the America's Cup sailing match starting June 17.

Skippered by Peter Burling, the Kiwis won both races in Bermuda on Saturday.

Team New Zealand needs to win four more races to return the Auld Mug to the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron in Auckland, where it resided from 1995-2003.

It was an nearly totally dominant display from Emirates Team NZ helmsman Peter Burling, who had the better of counterpart Jimmy Spithill throughout the opening exchanges, winning both starts and overcoming slight lapses late in both races.

"I think it just shows you guys will fall for anything", the 37-year-old Spithill said, hinting it was all a ploy. "We feel we have got just as much chance to win this and we're going to do everything we can".

Race 4 was to follow.

As for Oracle's foil selection, "I thought we made a good step forward", Spithill said.

“Look, I really try and portray the team, ” Spithill said Friday after he and Burling posed with the Americas Cup.

"It's pretty obvious, these guys are faster and we need to make some serious changes", Spithill said.

Spithill's Oracle team now face an uphill battle to win the 35th edition of the competition, where the trophy is earned by the first team to reach seven points.

Their Australian skipper Jimmy Spithill reverenced the remarkable fightback to beat Team NZ 9-8 in the Cup Match San Francisco four years ago, reminding the Kiwis to take nothing for granted.

However, the U.S. yacht then hit trouble and Burling was able to guide New Zealand to a comfortable victory by a minute and 27 seconds.

The always-crafty Kiwis are using a "cyclor" grinding system.

Oracle Team USA's track record of performing when their backs are against the wall and the intervening five days should set up a fascinating showdown to the competition as both teams race to modify their boats and improve performance. But its 50-foot catamaran came off its foils during a bad gybe and buried its bows in the water, allowing the Kiwis to speed back ahead and open a lead of about 300 yards.

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