Peter Burling and Emirates Team New Zealand survived two heartstopping moments to win the first two races of the 35th America's Cup against Jimmy Spithill and two-time defending champion Oracle Team USA on the Great Sound on Saturday.
Both ACC boats were even off the start-line in Race Two, but Team NZ built superior speed to the first mark and quickly extended to more than a minute in front at the third gate.
But the Kiwis came off their foils during a hard maneuver and slowed dramatically in light, shifty wind, losing half their lead.
Although they won twice, by 30 seconds and 1 minute, 28 seconds, the Kiwis lead just 1-0.
The Kiwi syndicate have won four-from-four races in the Cup Match off Bermuda so far, having started one point behind, and now need another four to clinch the Auld Mug.
"Yes, I'm hoping for an Oracle win, it's just my point of view for Team France".
Emirates Team New Zealand jumped out with two wins but Burling was not ready to celebrate.
On Thursday, Emirates Team New Zealand posted photos on its Facebook page showing Oracle crewmen carrying bow sections to SoftBank Team Japans base, speculating that Oracle was assembling a backup boat using the Japanese platform.
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"I think the question is, imagine if these guys lost from here", Spithill said, glancing at then-Team New Zealand skipper Dean Barker. Theyre going to be there when we need them..
Race 4 was to follow.
After going into the competition one point down, the New Zealanders needed to win eight races to win the America's Cup, the world's oldest worldwide sporting competition. "We've been in a tough situation before and overcome a lot of different challenges and now we've got to respond", Spithill said.
"Look, I really try and portray the team", Spithill said Friday after he and Burling posed with the America's Cup. Jimmy Spithill's Oracle team now face an uphill battle to win the competition, where the trophy is earned by the team that wins seven races.
The Kiwi's control system, which is manned by skipper Glenn Ashby, means that they can also be fast and accurate going into manoeuvres and coming out.
Emirates Team New Zealand faces Oracle Team USA in the America's Cup sailing m.
Blair Tuke, a crewman on Emirates Team New Zealand, responded with a cartoon of a gassed-looking bald eagle failing to keep up with a trim kiwi speeding away on a bicycle.
Oracle made an unforced error when its catamaran came off its foils early on the downwind second leg of Race 3.
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