Kiwis beat Oracle in America's Cup opener in Bermuda
HAMILTON, Bermuda (AP) Peter Burling and Emirates Team New Zealand won Race 1 of the America's Cup on Saturday, benefiting from an error by skipper Jimmy Spithill of two-time defending champion Oracle Team USA and then surviving a dramatic slowdown.
Spithill was over the starting line early, forcing him to drop two boat lengths behind to clear the penalty. The Kiwis' 50-foot catamaran rose onto its hydrofoils and sped off across the turquoise waters of the Great Sound.
But the Kiwis, the hard-luck losers to Oracle in 2013, later came off their foils during a difficult maneuver and slowed dramatically in light, shifty wind, losing half their lead. They won by 30 seconds, still showing their dominance in light wind.
The match is now even at 0-0. Oracle won a bonus point for winning the qualifiers, but it was actually a negative point for the Kiwis. That means they need to win eight races while Oracle needs to win seven.
Oracle came in with a 10-race winning streak against Team New Zealand, including eight at the end of the 2013 regatta and two in the round-robins this year.
Race 2 followed.