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

Emirates Team New Zealand dominated the opening day of the 35th America's Cup on Saturday, handing defenders Oracle Team USA two defeats on Bermuda's Great Sound.

"Clearly, we need to now put everything back on the table".

In relatively light winds, Burling continued to sail smoothly, extending the Kiwis' advantage to a healthy margin of one minute and 52 seconds over their rivals by the fifth gate. That means they need to win eight races while Oracle needs to win seven.

Burling said that will be the team's approach over the next five days.

"We've known all along that to win the America's Cup we had to win eight races and so to get two wins on the board already is fantastic". Burling again showed why he's so highly regarded in world sailing, winning another start over Jimmy Spithill and 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. There's enough time to make appendage changes, sail changes, we can do crew changes. But we had our opportunities.

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

Meanwhile, here is New Zealand cyclor Simon Van Velthooven, who won a bronze medal in the Men's Keirin at London 2012, to explain why light winds equal hard grind for the boat's muscle men.

New Zealand are closing in on winning the America's Cup, having claimed four of the eight races they need to recapture the world's oldest global sporting competition.

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"The motivation is always there", said Spithill, who is trying to win the America's Cup for the third straight time before he turns 38.

Fronting the media after what was one of the great moments of theatre from the last regatta - Spithill and Oracle boss Russell Coutts talking animatedly inside one of the team's chase boats in between races - Spithill could have fibbed and claimed there was an issue with the boat.

That press conference also spawned one of Spithill's now-famous lines - "mate, you can be a rooster one day and a feather duster the next". “We were far from our best today. "We're not going to hide from the truth".

Spithill vowed that from Monday to Friday the entire USA team - from boat builders, designers, engineers and crew - would be working round the clock in a bid to catch up.

Although they've won the first four races, the Kiwis lead Oracle 3-0.

New Zealand's boat speed was again superior in race four, with Jimmy Spithill's American crew essentially left to wait for a mistake that never came. The Kiwi catamaran rose onto its hydrofoils and sped ahead.

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.

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