Emirates Team New Zealand crosses the finish line to win the second race of the America's Cup in the Great Sound, Bermuda.
Emirates Team New Zealand crosses the finish line to win the second race of the America's Cup in the Great Sound, Bermuda. CJ GUNTHER

Kiwis lay down challenge in America's Cup

SAILING: 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.

Although they won twice, by 30 seconds and 1 minute, 28 seconds, the Kiwis lead just 1-0.

Oracle earned a bonus point for winning the qualifiers, but it was actually a negative point for the Kiwis, so the first-race win merely erased that.

The New Zealand boat now needs another eight wins to take The Auld Mug back to the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron in Auckland, where it resided from 1995 until 2003.

But Burling is taking nothing for granted after the USA fought back from 8-1 down to take the famous old trophy when the boats last clashed in San Francisco four years ago.

"We're under no illusions," helsman Peter Burling, 26, said.

"We've got a lot of hard work to do to keep pushing forward.

"All the people in the shed back at the base are already going over the boat and trying to get little bits of speed to start throwing at these guys."

The Kiwis snapped a 10-race losing streak to Oracle, including eight at the end of the 2013 regatta and two in the round-robins this year.

Oracle USA skipper, Jimmy Spithill, an Australian, is trying to win his third straight America's Cup before he turns 38.

The Aussie said the crew needed to up its game for the next races.

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

"Clearly we weren't sailing at our best. But we had our opportunities. We had our chances, but these guys made fewer mistakes.

"The good news is, we're only one back."

News Corp Australia

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