18 Jun 2017

Team NZ dominates with two wins

8:24 am on 18 June 2017

Team New Zealand has won the first two races of the America's Cup, scoring comfortable victories over defenders Oracle Team USA in Bermuda.

Team New Zealand in their second race against Oracle.

Team New Zealand in their second race against Oracle. Photo: Twitter / @EmiratesTeamNZ

New Zealand won the first race by 30 seconds and the second by a 1 minute and 28 seconds.

Look back in RNZ's live coverage here.

Team New Zealand leads the series 1-0 in the race to seven.

Jimmy Spithill's defenders crossed the start line early in the first race, were penalised and never fully recovered.

Team New Zealand's turn into the finish line went all wrong and a lead that was nearly two minutes at one point was whittled down to half a minute.

The New Zealanders were just ahead at the start of the second race and again dominated around the course with good speed.

At gate five Oracle had come from way behind finding better winds and went bumper to bumper with Team New Zealand through the gate before itself running into trouble and letting the kiwis get away.

New Zealand skipper Glen Ashby said because of the fickle winds, both sides made mistakes, but overall he was very happy with how the day went.

"I think the starting today sort of gave us an opportunity to sail our own race a little bit more after getting off the line really well."

There are another two races tomorrow.

The US crew, trying to win the cup for a third successive time after beating New Zealand in San Francisco in 2013, began the series with a one-point advantage after winning the earlier qualifying regatta.

The helmsmen at a press conference after the races (starts at one minute 30).

NZ supporters cheer their team on

On Auckland's waterfront, Team New Zealand supporters gathered at a public screening of the race to cheer their boat as it crossed the line.

One supporter, Tihau Bishop, said the race was very exciting and interesting.

"Still it's anybody's race, but to see two victories today was tops," he said.

"Kia kaha! Go Team New Zealand!"

Another supporter said the crowd got noisier as the racing went on.

"There was quite a bit of tension in the crowd here ... it was a great atmosphere to be here today."

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