US beats Kiwis on opening day of America's Cup qualifiers

Skippered by Australian Jimmy Spithill, Oracle Team USA reached speeds of at least 42 knots as they left the French crew in their wake in their first race. He hit the dock while returning from practice March 22 and then ran into the back of Emirates Team New Zealand during a practice race May 16, causing significant damage that took the Kiwis three days to fix. It was a wire-to-wire victory for the British challenger, with the lead yo-yoing from ten to twenty seconds, but Land Rover BAR were never threatened after taking control at Mark One.

The qualifiers started the same way the 2013 America's Cup ended, with Oracle rallying to beat Team New Zealand.

"We were just a fraction slow to accelerate because we were close to the start line and they just got over the top of us", he said.

"We set pretty high standards so we're not satisfied".

"However to get that first win on the board is really important".

According to Land Rover BAR, "SoftBank Team Japan's skipper, Dean Barker moved into an overlapping position on the leeward side of Land Rover BAR, a move that resulted in a dramatic clash as the two boats came together, the hull of Land Rover BAR being punctured by the pedestal on the Japanese team". Tacking and jibing incredibly smoothly, the Kiwis chased down their rivals before overhauling them heading for gate 5.

America's Cup Qualifiers: From May 27 to June 3, all six America's Cup teams - yes, that includes the Defender - will compete in a double round robin match race series where each competitor races every other team twice.

Groupama Team France provided a massive surprise in the opening race of the day by leading one of the series favourites, Artemis Racing at the first mark and led the Swedes around the course by a narrow margin in the 10-11kt breeze.

Emirates Team New Zealand kicked off their 35th America's Cup campaign with a convincing win over Groupama Team France on Bermuda's Great Sound. It swapped out two of the workhorse grinders per race.

The British looked strong in beating Artemis Racing by 11 seconds.

"Today showed just how hard racing can be out there", said Artemis Racing helmsman Nathan Outteridge. For that we extend our thanks to so many who have laboured so hard for so long to put Bermuda in the best position it can be in.”.

"However, I'm extremely proud of the way the whole team regrouped from that defeat and fixed everything in an nearly flawless race against ORACLE TEAM USA".

Oracle went 2-0 while Land Rover BAR, Team New Zealand, Artemis Racing of Sweden and SoftBank Team Japan all went 1-1.

Team Japan tactician Chris Draper said there were "a couple of bruises" among SoftBank crew members and some compression damage to his boat's carbon fibre hull. It means they have to beat one of the more consistent teams just to get back to even.

There was also joy for Land Rover BAR, who caused somewhat of a surprise in Race 4 to claim a morale-boosting victory over the highly-fancied Artemis Racing. He hit the dock while returning from a practice session on March 22 and then ran into the back of Emirates Team New Zealand during a practice race on May 16, causing significant damage that took the Kiwis three days to fix. "It didn't happen last night, so I'm guessing' he'll probably do it tonight".

"However, I see it as good practice on how how to shake off a mistake and show how fast you can be when chasing".

"Consistency is the key in a competition like this and so there is a lot for us to improve on".

It was the first race for the new look Kiwi team racing on sailing's greatest stage, and they managed to beat the French team with the composure expected of America's Cup veterans.

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