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 made a flying start in the America's Cup final with two wins over Oracle Team USA which left the Kiwis 1-0 ahead after the first day of racing in Bermuda's Great Sound on Saturday.

The Kiwi team continued to excel in light-wind sailing and again showed superior speed and slick maneuvers, whipping their 50-foot foiling catamaran around the course at a maximum speed of 38.5 kph.

The first race in the contest to win the world's oldest sporting trophy was fought out on Bermuda's Great Sound by Oracle Team USA, skippered by Jimmy Spithill and Emirates Team New Zealand, helmed by Peter Burling.

After almost four years, Jimmy Spithill will once again lead ORACLE TEAM USA into battle against Emirates Team New Zealand. "I think these next five days will be the most important five days of the campaign". "We're really happy to have won four so far, but we've just got to keep pushing". Because Oracle won the qualifiers, the challenger started the 35th Americas Cup match with a negative point.

"These are the best boats, the two best crews and we're both highly motivated to win".

"Our team's really hungry to keep learning, keep moving forward, keep improving".

But Spithill insisted there was still room to make useful adjustments to the complicated systems that control the space-age craft, and to "appendages" including the massive fixed-wing sails, rudders and the daggerboards that allow the boats to foil - virtually flying with their twin hulls above the water surface.

The most pleasing aspect for the Kiwis was the speed of their boat in the light conditions of seven to ten knots, Aotearoa New Zealand consistently quicker than the Americans.

The always-crafty Kiwis are using a "cyclor" grinding system. Simon van Velthooven, who won a bronze medal in track cycling at the London Olympics, was aboard for Race 3. Olympic rowing champion Joe Sullivan replaced him for Race 4.

Despite relinquishing the point advantage they held at the beginning of the day, Oracle Team USA helmsman Jimmy Spithill is refusing to panic, especially with the experience of overturning an eight - one deficit to the same opposition in 2013.

"We had a little issue on board during the first start", said Spithill. “I thought we were faster than yesterday but unfortunately its just not enough. "We know the next four are probably going to be the hardest races we've had". Were not going to hide from the truth.”.

In 2013, Ashby and the Kiwis led the best of 17-race series 8-1, but incredibly lost eight-straight races and suffered a humiliating defeat.

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