It was the rematch Team New Zealand had waited nearly four years for.

Since the shellshocked team departed San Francisco after Oracle Team USA engineered the greatest, and most baffling, comeback of all time to reclaim the America's Cup in 2013, the Kiwi syndicate have been singularly focused on getting another crack at the US team.

There were periods when the besieged Emirates Team New Zealand weren't sure they would get to Bermuda, let alone the 35th America's Cup match.

When the day dawned it brought with it a spooky calm in the New Zealand camp.


The team were ready to go early, launching their boat, that had been polished within an inch of its life by an over-eager shore crew, in the morning and heading out on the course for a pre-race shakedown.

The crew returned an hour later happy and relaxed, each giving the thumbs up as they strode up gangway and back into the team tent.

The mood out on forecourt of the Team NZ base among the family, friends and supporters that had gathered to wave off the crew aboard Aotearoa as she head out onto the Great Sound, was also relaxed.

Come race time the serene atmosphere was pierced, and foil-tack anxiety emerged. Not even Team NZ's superior boatspeed over Oracle proved a settler. Breathes were held through every manoeuvre as they clung to their New Zealand flags, which are in plentiful supply around the America's Cup village courtesy of Team NZ chairman Sir Stephen Tindall, like security blankets.

By the end of the day those flags were being waved enthusiastically once more, as Team NZ returned to the dock with two convincing wins on the board.

Still, it had a familiar feel to it.

"We've definitely seen this movie before," said skipper Glenn Ashby, the only member of the 2013 crew back on board the race boat in Bermuda, referencing Team NZ's strong start to the San Francisco regatta.

Team NZ will know the violent plot twist Oracle are capable of orchestrating.

But they also know that so far they have got their own lines virtually word perfect at this point.

Rookie helmsman Peter Burling, who has been maligned all regatta - at times unfairly - for his efforts in the startbox, won both starts.

Instead it was Oracle skipper Jimmy Spithill making "basic fouls", with the US boat copping a penalty in race one having misjudged their time and distance to the line.

Team NZ also responded well when the pressure came on them heading into the final top mark in the second race, after Oracle ground down a 450m deficit, to be bow to stern with the Kiwi boat at the fifth gate.

"It was obviously an interesting end to that beat ... we sailed into some pretty light breeze and had a couple of bad manoeuvres, but the pleasing thing for us is the guys held their composure on board and executed what we needed to do to stay in front," Burling explained.

That second win was effectively Team NZ's first step towards the seven points they need to bring the Auld Mug back to New Zealand for the first time since 2003. The Kiwi team went into the match at -1 courtesy of a quirk in the rules that saw Oracle's one-point advantage from winning the round robin of the qualifying series (which is another bizarre format change in itself) applied against the Kiwi team.

That minus was the only positive for Spithill in summarising his team's performance on the opening day.

"The good news is, we're only one back," he said.

Spithill, who has fired several shots across the bows of Team NZ on land this regatta, couldn't muster up the same fighting talk we've seen from him in the build-up.

Comebacks are something the Australian is famous for, but the best he could come up with when asked what happened out on the racecourse today was: "well, the Kiwis won two races".

Yes, it was a perfect start. But it's not really a perfect start Team NZ are looking for, it's the perfect ending.