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

Lawrence Kim
June 19, 2017

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.

Emirates Team New Zealand beat Oracle Team USA to level at 0-0 after erasing the US boat's one-point advantage in the first-to-seven America's Cup final on Saturday.

"We've been here before, it's not over", Jimmy Spithill, the Oracle skipper, said.

However, in similar scenes to day one's two races, a small mistake was to prove pivotal as a poor jibe by ORACLE TEAM USA saw the American boat make a small splashdown into the water, resulting in a loss of momentum that they were then unable to claw back.

New Zealand are trying to expunge the bitter memory of 2013, when they led the United States 8-1 only to fall 9-8 as Oracle mounted one of the great comebacks in sports history in San Francisco.

"It was obviously a fantastic rally by the boys, particularly the guys forward today - just a massive effort on the hydraulic front", he said. We will look at every single thing we can. "I think these next five days will be the most important five days of the campaign".

"We were far from our best today". He is an Americas Cup rookie.

Team New Zealand helmsman Peter Burling believes the Kiwi syndicate are not even close to tapping out the potential in their race boat.

Spithill believes his team have to make some “serious changes” to their boat if they are to keep their title hopes alive.

Oracle fell back, however, allowing the New Zealand team to secure their second win. Because Oracle won the qualifiers, the challenger started the 35th America's Cup match with a negative point. Racing resumes on Saturday.

"Halfway way up that second beat we definitely lost a lot and we have to go away and keep learning and improving", admitted Burling.

The move to play their postponement card, which teams do not have the ability to do at this event in Bermuda, gave the USA team 48 hours to regroup, and proved critical in the eventual result as it set in motion the beginnings of their comeback.

"We're happy to take those four wins because it is no secret that we are here to win the America's Cup".

But the Kiwis, the hard-luck losers to Oracle in 2013, later came off their foils during a difficult maneuver and slowed dramatically in light, shifty wind, losing half their lead.

Spithill's ORACLE TEAM USA continued their pursuit, in the hope of a mistake from their Kiwi rivals in the closing stages.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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