Two more wins for Team NZ

Emirates Team New Zealand had a ideal start to the America's Cup match with two wins over Oracle Team USA, but they're kicking themselves for a far from flawless performance overall.

Spithill and his team beat Peter Burling's Kiwis twice in the Louis Vuitton America's Cup Qualifiers a couple of weeks ago.

The Kiwi team crossed the line 48.7 seconds ahead of the USA team.

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.

Team New Zealand has dominated the opening salvo, winning both races Saturday and Sunday by significant margins through a combination of better starts, slicker crew work, fewer mistakes and a lightning-fast boat, aided to some extent by the "cyclors" or leg grinders in place of traditional arm-powered winches to better power the hydraulic systems.

“This team has been here before, so its not over, ” Spithill said.

"The amount of Kiwis that have also travelled up here, the flags that are around the village - we just really appreciate the support and it inspires us to keep pushing on".

Extraordinarily, when I asked him how the team out in front knew where to look for further improvement, the 26-year-old Olympic world champion and gold medallist cited his own past experience with Olympic and Team NZ sailing partner Blair Tuke.

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

However, despite Emirates Team New Zealand securing back-to-back victories on day one, Burling is not getting carried away just yet.

In a familiar pattern, Team NZ gained control from the outset in races three and four and employed superior boat speed to simply sail clear of the hapless Americans. "But we're really happy to win with so many errors around the race track and really happy with the speed".

Forced to drop back two boat-lengths, the Americans couldn't recover as the Kiwi catamaran displayed impressive speed in the light winds.

"Today was a really good day for us", Burling said.

New Zealand continued to excel in light-wind sailing and again showed superior speed over the US boat.

"Oracle is a multinational team and they're not wearing their heart on their sleeve perhaps as much as the Kiwis and when it gets to those key moments when its all on the line, who is going to be more motivated to win it?", Ainslie said. "We know if we stand still these guys will be catching us", he said.

  • Santos West