Kiwis dominate opening day of America’s Cup

Kiwis dominate opening day of America’s Cup

SAN FRANCISCO - Agence France-Presse
Kiwis dominate opening day of America’s Cup

Emirates Team New Zealand races Oracle Team in the San Francisco Bay. AFP photo

Emirates New Zealand dominated the opening races of the America’s Cup on Sept. 7, stepping closer to claiming the yachting’s top prize.

New Zealand beat defending champion Oracle Team USA off the starting line and across the finish twice in a row, besting the defending champion when it came to speed and maneuvering.

“That was a fantastic day,” New Zealand team tactician Ray Davies said after the second race.

Oracle skipper Jimmy Spithill, understandably, had a different viewpoint, saying “it was obviously not the result we wanted.” New Zealand seized the first race of the Cup, crossing the starting line with precision and going on to out-maneuver Oracle, proving to be slightly faster on the water.

Both skippers appeared grim-faced early in the opening race after New Zealand glided across the start slightly ahead of Oracle.

Oracle grabbed the lead with a cross-over in the third leg, until New Zealand took control with a tack of its own. New Zealand crossed the finish 36 seconds ahead of Oracle.

Oracle’s deficit in the best-of-17 series is more daunting due to the two-point penalty imposed on the holders before the finals began.

New Zealand must win nine races to claim the coveted Cup, while Oracle has to win 11 to retain the prize.