A good day for New Zealand.
That's the verdict from Peter Lester, the former America's Cup yachtsman and veteran commentator, after Emirates Team New Zealand and form horse Artemis had two practice duels off Bermuda.
Lester, who emphasised caution was needed in analysing practice results, said that TNZ helmsman Peter Burling won both starts. Lester called the first race - when TNZ sailed without a jib and fell off the foils at one point - as even. The second, when Artemis came off their foils, was clear advantage to TNZ in conditions up to 18 knots.
Lester, who has been given previously unheard of access to the New Zealand camp, said TNZ would also be buoyed by what he described as outstanding skill and dedication in repairing the boat which was damaged in last week's collision with Ben Ainslie Racing.
"I would think they would be really pleased and relieved," said Lester.
"They hadn't really lined up against anyone properly...light winds, the crash, people didn't want to race them. They had a fair lick at Artemis and I'd say the verdict is slight edge to New Zealand.
"They will be thinking 'we're in the game'. Burling hasn't done a lot of match racing, and the way he managed the pre-start was encouraging. I thought Burling didn't put a foot wrong.
"Up until now, Artemis is the team people have been measuring themselves against, especially in strong conditions."
Typical of the intrigue which dominates all America's Cup racing, TNZ had arranged to race BAR in the morning meeting, yet took on Artemis instead.
The Swedish entry is led by Nathan Outteridge and trimmer Iain Jensen, the Australian sailors who have been friends, training partners and fierce rivals for Burling and trimmer Blair Tuke over the past four or five years.
Meanwhile, Artemis destroyed struggling BAR, according to Lester, while Oracle and it's junior partner SoftBank Team Japan hooked up later in the day.
TNZ opens its Louis Vuitton challenger campaign proper against the battling French boat on Saturday morning.
"You have to be a bit wary about all of this, because you don't know what configurations the boats are using," Lester said.
"All the teams are still playing around, especially with daggerboards, rudders and the hydraulics."