This is a rematch of the epic 2013 America's Cup, when Team New Zealand, then skippered by Dean Barker, reached match point at 8-1 before Spithill lead Oracle Team USA to eight straight victories for one of the biggest comebacks in sports.
New Zealand helmsman Peter Burling, 26, won both races against defending US champion Jimmy Spithill in an upset as the Kiwi team made a strong start in the first day of the first to seven competition. The Kiwis' 50-foot catamaran rose onto its hydrofoils and sped off across the turquoise waters of the Great Sound.
But the light winds also made for very tricky conditions which produced a heart-stopping moment for the Kiwis when they ran out of breeze and sank off the foils with the finish in sight.
Throughout the build-up to the America's Cup Match series, New Zealand's Peter Burling has looked the most relaxed helmsmen among the five challenger crews, although qualifying has been testing, and included a near-catastrophic capsize.
They must find a solution to the superior upwind speed of Team NZ's catamaran and devise a way to rattle Burling, who has been flawless with his starts and decision-making so far, nullifying the threat of aggressive match-racing ability of Team USA's Australian skipper Jimmy Spithill.
Spithill thinks the splashdown was caused by a problem with one of the rudders. Because Oracle won the qualifiers, the challenger started the 35th America's Cup match with a negative point.
The defenders appear to be in serious trouble as they suffered two more heavy defeats to the Kiwis to fall behind 3-0 in the first-to-seven series.More news: Wife of man who shot Rep. Steve Scalise speaks out
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"We're under no illusions that we've got a lot of hard work going forward", said Burling".
Look, I really try and portray the team, Spithill said Friday after he and Burling posed with the Americas Cup.
However, a six-day break until race five and six on Sunday (NZT) will allow Team USA to make changes to a defence which is teetering.
Skipper Jimmy Spithill, who is looking to win the America's Cup for the third time before he turns 38, started with an Instagram post of a cartoon of a bald eagle in an American flag motif digging its talons into a surprised kiwi bird, accompanied by the hashtag #battleofbermuda.
Race Two: Emirates Team New Zealand beat ORACLE TEAM USA by 1 minute and 28 seconds. He has won Olympic gold and silver medals with grinder Blair Tuke.
Theres a lot obviously we can take from today, a lot to be learnt and good news we are only one back.