The NZL Sailing Team were third equal on points after the first day of racing at the Youth America's Cup which was sailed in painfully light winds at times.

On a day when Emirates Team New Zealand clinched their spot in the America's Cup match against Oracle, the youth team began their quest to retain the Red Bull Youth America's Cup.

They were fifth in the first race of the day but recovered well to win the second race and then finished third in race three in a dying wind.

They sit on 24 points, level with Team Bermuda and only one behind Spanish Impulse in second. Land Rover BAR Academy lead on 27 points. The NZL Sailing Team need to ensure they finish in the top four in qualifying to guarantee a place in next week's eight-boat finals.


The day started poorly for the NZL Sailing Team, as they got caught up with other boats getting off the line in the first race and rounded the first mark last in the six-boat fleet. It left them playing catchup and, while they climbed to fourth at one point, there were big gains and losses to be made in the shifty conditions and they finished fifth.

They completely dominated the second race, managing to get foiling on the first reach, and built their lead to claim a morale-boosting win. The Kiwi team also led at the first mark in race three but were caught on the wrong side of the course on the first upwind leg and had to settle for third.

"We had a solid first day in what was light and at times fluky conditions on a tight race course," tactician Micah Wilkinson said. "As a team, it was a confidence-building day. With limited training time in these boats, and a majority of that being in windy conditions, it was the first racing we have done in such light conditions. The team adapted well after the fifth in the first race to bounce back for a race win.

"Tomorrow's conditions look much the same - maybe a slight breeze increase. We are looking to sail more accurately and build on what we learned today. The team got better throughout the day as the communication gelled, so we're looking to solidify that and turn it into more boat speed, better decision making and, hopefully, better results."

Three more races are scheduled tomorrow but light winds are once again forecast in Bermuda.

Results and standings from the first day of qualifying at the Red Bull Youth America's Cup in Bermuda today:

Pool B Race 1:

Land Rover BAR Academy (10pts)

Spanish Impulse by Iberostar Team (9pts)

Next Generation USA (8pts)

Team BDA (7pts)

NZL Sailing Team (6pts)

Candidate Sailing Team (5pts)

Pool B Race 2:

NZL Sailing Team (10pts)

Spanish Impulse by Iberostar (9pts)

Team BDA (8pts)

Land Rover BAR Academy (7pts)

Next Generation USA (6pts)

Candidate Sailing Team (5pts)

Pool B Race 3:

Land Rover BAR Academy (10pts)

Team BDA (9pts)

NZL Sailing Team (8pts)

Spanish Impulse by Iberostar (7pts)

Candidate Sailing Team (6pts)

Next Generation USA (5pts)


Land Rover BAR Academy 27pts

Spanish Impulse by Iberostar 25pts

Team BDA 24pts

NZL Sailing Team 24pts

Next Generation USA 19pts

Candidate Sailing Team 16pts

- This story has been automatically published using a media release from Yachting New Zealand