Team New Zealand managed an improved performance on the second day of the America's Cup world series in Venice overnight, moving up to fourth after four fleet races.

After a sixth and third in yesterday's opening races, Team New Zealand and the rest of the fleet moved inshore to tackle a tight course and a light, shifty breeze.

Those factors, along with a very competitive fleet, conspired to make for a tricky day, where it was not simple to win but easy to lose.

Dean Barker and his crew - Ray Davies, Glenn Ashby, Jeremy Lomas and James Dagg - got the start they wanted in race one and led into the first mark closely followed by Luna Rossa Swordfish.


Team New Zealand retained their leading going around mark two but, in the changeable conditions, nothing was certain. Luna Rossa got into some better breeze on this downwind leg and snatched the initiative as they closed on the third mark, but Barker defended against Energy to hold onto second place.

In the second race, Luna Rossa Piranha followed the lead of Swordfish to claim line honours, with Oracle 4 second and Team New Zealand trailing in fourth.

Barker was relatively satisfied with the improvements made, especially considering the strain placed on the crew by the tight course.

"At the debrief last night we discussed a lot of small details where we had to do better," he said. "We knew we had not sailed to the best of our ability and were determined to do better.

"The boats are very physical and very hard on the guys. They train for that, but on these short courses they get a real flogging. By the end of a race they're completely spent."

Conditions today were even more unkind to some big names, with Artemis finishing seventh and Oracle 4 managing only 8th in the first race. Oracle's James Spithill recovered to claim third in the second race but Artemis' run of bad fortune continued for another seventh.