Early impressions? Oracle looks the fastest boat in the leadup to the America's Cup.

Artemis would be second best at this point with Emirates Team New Zealand third.

I would place SoftBank fourth, and Land Rover BAR fifth ahead of French entry Groupama.

It was noticeable that Oracle and SoftBank are working and training together.


On several occasions both boats could be seen setting up together and show-boating around the start area and spectator boats. It looked to me as though they were making a very public statement about the cooperation agreement between the two syndicates.

Reliability looks like it will be a factor in the Louis Vuitton Cup and the America's Cup.

Four of the six boats in practice races had experienced gear breakages that resulted in retirements.

Team New Zealand were compromised following a rudder breakage on the first day of racing. For the second day of racing the Kiwis were forced to use their original set of older rudders.

They had a solid day winning three races, completely dominating the French from start to finish. One thing that was noticeable was the amount of harmonic noise coming from Kiwis' older rudders.

In the second race they trailed Ben Ainslie's BAR before passing them to windward. Both boats fell off their foils, but the New Zealanders got back up to move aheaad and ended up winning comfortably.

The third race was the race with the big ding, when Ainslie clipped the back of Team New Zealand. It caused quite a lot of damage and if this had been a Louis Vuitton Cup race I'm sure BAR would have been disqualified.

■ Peter Lester travelled to Bermuda courtesy of Toyota New Zealand