America's Cup: New Zealand take 1-0 lead over USA

Sailing- America's Cup Finals- News conference

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It's actually a negative point for Team New Zealand, which needs to win eight races to get the Auld Mug back into the trophy room at the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron, where it resided from 1995-2003.

“But we need to sharpen up — and thats what we will focus on tonight.”. We had our chances, but these guys made fewer mistakes.

Four years ago, New Zealand were eventually overhauled by an Oracle team that featured Britain's Ben Ainslie as tactician in what is regarded as one of sport's great comebacks. In the second contest, the victor would earn a one point advantage heading into the America's Cup Match.

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

The latest generation of twin-hulled America's Cup catamarans, featuring towering, 78-foot fixed-wing sails, can reach speeds of more than 50 miles per hour (80.5 km/h) as they rise above the water, virtually flying on their hydrofoils.

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Spithill thinks the splashdown was caused by a problem with one of the rudders.

“I think we saw just how a couple of times these guys built up a healthy lead and in the blink of an eye its back on again.

"The boat's going really fast and the boys are doing a really good job just to get around the track nice and smooth", he said.

That's a reference to Spithill being Australian, as are other key decision-makers on the crew of Oracle, which is owned by American software billionaire Larry Ellison. In this photo provided by the America's Cup Event Authority, Oracle Team USA, foreground, competes with Emirates Team New Zealand during Race 2 of the America's Cup match sailing competition, Sunday, June 18, 2017, in the G.

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Entering the day 1-0 ahead in their first-to-seven format, the Kiwis showed their archrivals a clean pair of heels, totally dominating both races to extend their scoreboard advantage.

Peter Burling's team quickly got back on level terms as the USA - helmed by Jimmy Spithill - failed to recover from an early penalty in race one for crossing the start line too early.

But the light winds also made for very tricky conditions which produced a heart-stopping moment for the Kiwis when they ran out of breeze and sank off the foils with the finish in sight. He said there is a lot of racing ahead and many opportunities to take an advantage.

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

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