America's Cup: Oracle's off-water activities an intriguing backdrop to the racing

It's the first time a bonus point has been awarded for the match.

Oracle seized control at the start, forcing Burling into a penalty, and while the Kiwis pegged their opponents back, briefly taking the lead, two more penalties followed to end their chances. Oracle Team USA once again won the battle, with their opposition appealing and failing with a penalty protest.

"I imagine it's performance across the range of conditions, and looking at tomorrow it's quite light winds which is really a sweet spot for Team New Zealand with those super-long daggerboards", he told RNZ.

After America's Cup Qualifiers on Saturday, Emirates Team New Zealand finished second in the final standings, one point behind eventual winners Oracle Team USA.

“We had to win that race and it was great to see the teams response.”. Or the World Series starting with one team up by one game.

It was an early advantage that the British team built on steadily over over the first three legs of the race, with smooth sailing keeping them clear of Dean Barker's team.

Trying to improve: But there was even better to come as New Zealand became the first team to achieve an official "perfect" race, foiling around the entire course without touching their hulls down to beat France by four minutes and six seconds.

Despite the setback, SoftBank Team Japan recovered brilliantly to close the gap to their rivals ahead of the next gate as the two teams crossed paths before the turn.

Sir Ben Ainslie insists he is up for the challenge ahead of a head-to-head battle with in-form New Zealand to keep alive his America's Cup dreams. "We definitely learned a lot the last time we sailed in these conditions".

Team NZ will take on the British Ben Ainslie Racing syndicate in this week's Louis Vuitton America's Cup challenger playoffs.

The holders now have to sit on the sidelines until June 17 when they will defend the cup against one of the challengers.

However, it was not to be as Artemis Racing continued to find their form with what proved a relatively routine victory.

The only setbacks they've suffered in Bermuda are their two losses to Artemis Racing, the Swedish outfit, but skipper Jimmy Spithill and his team will definitely not be anxious about how they're tracking.

Team USA made it two-from-two with a comfortable defeat of BAR in their last race before a two-week period of development.

The result means the USA team will have a point lead against whoever gets to challenge them in a head-to-head match, which will be won by the first team to get to seven points.

“It was great to be under some pressure, ” said Spithill, whose team defeated Team New Zealand twice in the qualifiers.

Oracle started that series down two points after being penalized for the biggest cheating scandal in America's Cup history.

As Team NZ, Artemis, Ben Ainslie Racing, and Team Japan return to the water on Monday (NZ time), to start the process that will whittle four challengers down to one, Oracle will ramp up their work on shore, taking what they've learnt from their 10 races so far, and trying to ensure they have the ideal boat for when the America's Cup match starts.

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