Published: Mon, June 19, 2017
Culture | By Julio Duncan

Dominant New Zealand increase America's Cup lead


Team New Zealand has taken an early advantage over Oracle Team USA after winning the first two races of the America's Cup in Bermuda. The Kiwis' 50-foot catamaran rose onto its hydrofoils and sped off across the turquoise waters of the Great Sound.

They benefited from an error by skipper Jimmy Spithill of two-time defending champion Oracle Team USA on Saturday and then survived a dramatic slowdown.

During Race Four there was a moment of tension when it looked as though Team NZ might collide with Oracle.

The New Zealanders are well aware that it is possible not to win the America's Cup despite an early advantage, after being 8-1 up in San Francisco four years ago before losing to Oracle. "We've been in a tough situation before and overcome a lot of different challenges and now we've got to respond", Spithill said. "We thought we were coming back when we wanted to but as it turned out we were wrong, it is something we will have to go back and look at".

"It's not over yet, we've got five days and they're five very important days".

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.

"We've already got a massive list of things we want to work on". Because Oracle won the qualifiers, the challenger started the 35th America's Cup match with a negative point.

The slick, pacy Kiwis have won the first four races in the battle for the Auld Mug to lead 3-0 in the best-of-13 series, given USA's point in hand from the qualifying rounds.

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

Heading into the start of the first race Emirates Team New Zealand knew that Oracle had altered their boat to make it quicker.

Racing resumes Saturday and Sunday.

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

"We feel that with the resources we have here we can make the changes to improve the boat and give us more speed".

Race One: Emirates Team New Zealand beat ORACLE TEAM USA by 30 seconds.

As both boats headed towards the turn the gap was down to just over three seconds, and it looked like the USA team might record their first win of the America's Cup Match, presented by Louis Vuitton, but it was not to be.

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