Sailing - Oracle Team USA get America's Cup headstart with New Zealand win

There was no America's Cup racing in Bermuda this morning

With eight wins out of nine, New Zealand now need to beat Oracle Team USA to claim a bonus point which will give them an immediate advantage in the America's Cup final if they become the official challenger for worldwide sport's oldest trophy.

"We know to go and race Oracle, we're going to have to beat, now, Dean [Barker] and Team New Zealand", he said.

Back came Emirates Team New Zealand, the Kiwi boat showing superior speed upwind, which, allied to canny course management, allowed Burling to close the gap and move in front.

Even if the French crew skippered by Franck Cammas beat Sweden's Artemis Racing on Saturday, an inferior track record in the pre-event series means they can not overcome the other teams who are also seeking to challenge Oracle Team USA.

New Zealand's victories over Softbank Team Japan and France saw them surpass holders Oracle Team USA atop the standings with eight points.

That helped kill the drama in a rematch of the teams that met in the epic 2013 America's Cup match.

“We had to win that race and it was great to see the teams response.”.

Artemis, looking good in breezy conditions, also beat SoftBank Team Japan by 18 seconds.

The defender takes a one bonus point into the America's Cup final.

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"Team NZ have beaten BAR twice already this week, including the walkover on Friday (NZT), when the Kiwis nearly lapped their rivals, who withdrew with two legs remaining".

Oracle punctured Team Zealands hopes of winning the qualifiers to claim the one-point advantage heading into the first-to-seven series, which starts in two weeks.

The New Zealand team will be banking on their revolutionary "cycling" sailors to provide the muscle power needed to drive the hydraulic systems which control the foils and the towering "wing" sail which drives the boat. In addition to the New Zealand-USA showdown, Saturday's last day of round robin racing will feature Ben Ainslie's Land Rover BAR taking on both Japan and Oracle and Artemis taking on France.

That gives the USA team a point in the America's Cup Match, presented by Louis Vuitton, the final round of the events taking place now in Bermuda.

Team New Zealand crossed ahead of Oracle on the third leg but Spithill squeezed through the gate mark in the lead.

Today's two wins take Emirates Team New Zealand to the top of the points table after Oracle Team USA lost their match against Artemis Racing.

Team USA made it two-from-two with a comfortable defeat of Britain's BAR. That came in a 4:06 whitewashing of Groupama Team France, which was eliminated with one race to sail.

Oracle will sail against Land Rover BAR in the fourth and final race Saturday.

In this photo provided by the America's Cup Event Authority, SoftBank Team Japan and Sweden’s Artemis racing compete during America's Cup qualifying on the Great Sound in Bermuda on Friday, June 2, 2017.

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