The promise of a bright future for Team New Zealand has emerged after the opening races of the America's Cup World Series.

Emirates Team New Zealand finished third and first on day one of the season-opening regatta, raced off the coast of Portsmouth this morning.

It was a hugely encouraging start for the new-look team skippered by Glenn Ashby and helmed by Peter Burling, but even then there was be a feeling of lost opportunity.

In the early race, Team NZ sacrificed placings off the start line to get their preferred side of the course and it proved to be an inspired decision as they ended the first downwind leg in the lead. They soon sacrificed that lead to Ben Ainslie Racing - no disgrace because they have looked super-quick on their home course - but would have been mortified to lose a place to Oracle on the final downwind leg.


"We thought Oracle should have received a penalty at the bottom mark. It was a port-starboard issue and they didn't give us enough room," Blair Tuke, who turned 26 today, said.

"But they shouldn't have even been that close. We wasted time deciding whether to use the code zero [gennaker]. We made a few unforced errors out on the course that we talked about between races."

Whatever was said worked. The bitter aftertaste of a sure second morphing into a third was soon washed away in race two.

Changing their start tactics from race one, Team NZ went left on the first downwind leg and opened a small gap against Groupama and a big gap on the rest of the field.

"We played it a lot smarter," Tuke said. "BAR tried the same move we did in race one [gybe straight after the first mark], while we got a couple of good shifts."

Team NZ were never seriously challenged for the rest of the race and Tuke said the fact they still had plenty of improvement left in them boded well for the rest of the season.

"We're still a new group of guys and things aren't happening instinctively yet," he said.

BAR passed French boat Groupama late to end day one in the lead, while Oracle came home in fourth after being penalised off the start line.


Tomorrow's racing will be worth double points. Points accrued in the ACWS will go towards seedings at the challenger series for the America's Cup in Bermuda in 2017.

BAR (UK) 19
Team NZ 18
Oracle (USA) 16
Groupama (France) 13
Softbank (Japan) 13
Artemis (Sweden) 11

Race one
1. BAR
2. Oracle
3. Team NZ
4. Softbank
5. Artemis
6. Groupama

Race two
1. Team NZ
2. BAR
3. Groupama
4. Oracle
5. Softbank
6. Artemis