Published: Mon, June 19, 2017
Sport | By Cecil Buchanan

Kiwis beat Oracle in 1st 2 America's Cup races in Bermuda

Kiwis beat Oracle in 1st 2 America's Cup races 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.

New Zealand helmsman Peter Burling, 26, won both races against defending US champion Jimmy Spithill in an upset as the Kiwi team made a strong start in the first day of the first to seven competition.

The Kiwi boat showed superior speed in both races in the first direct comparison of the high-tech 50-foot catamarans' performance as match racing got under way in Bermuda's Great Sound.

Having closed the gap, ORACLE TEAM USA's yacht came down off its foils and that gave Emirates Team New Zealand the chance to re-establish their lead.

The Kiwis won one more race to reach match point at 8-1, and then suffered one of the greatest collapses in sports as Spithill staged one of the biggest comebacks. Oracle won a bonus point for winning the qualifiers, but it was actually a negative point for the Kiwis.

(AP Photo/Gregory Bull). Emirates Team New Zealand helmsman Peter Burling gestures on his way towards a sailing training session Friday, June 16, 2017, in Hamilton, Bermuda.

Now, the teams will renew hostilities with the oldest trophy in global sport on the line once again.

"I think the question is, imagine if these guys lost from here", Spithill said, glancing at then-Team New Zealand skipper Dean Barker. "This is not going to be anything less that a huge battle we are expecting".

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However, a five-day break until race five and six on Sunday (NZT) will allow Team USA to make changes to its teetering defence.

After going into the competition one point down, the New Zealanders needed to win eight races to win the America's Cup, the world's oldest worldwide sporting competition.

Coutts has been the CEO of Oracle Team USA since it beat Alinghi in 2010.

"It was obviously a tough day", Spithill said.

Spithill, an Australian, is trying to win his third straight America's Cup before he turns 38. Oracle needs to win seven to keep the silver trophy in the hands of one of the world's richest men, software tycoon Larry Ellison, who has been watching the shellacking from a team support boat.

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

"The margin blew out once more and at one stage Emirates Team New Zealand were ahead by 1'35", only to see the Americans find pressure and storm back to close within three seconds at mark five.

Oracle made an unforced error when its catamaran came off its foils early on the downwind second leg of Race 3.

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