New Zealand level with United States in America's Cup final


Race 2 is to follow. Emirates Team New Zealand faces Oracle Team USA in the America's Cup sailing match starting June.

However, a six-day break until race five and six on Sunday (NZT) will allow Team USA to make changes to a defence which is teetering.

Still, this isn't the start the powerhouse Oracle squad expected.

But Emirates Team New Zealand's young helmsman Peter Burling was as phlegmatic as ever on the eve of the Cup.

Although they've won the first four races, the Kiwis lead Oracle 3-0.

In 2013, he helped lead one of the greatest comebacks in sports, when Oracle, down 8-1 at match point to the Kiwis, won eight straight races on San Francisco Bay to retain the oldest trophy in global sports. That means they need to win eight races total to spirit the Auld Mug back to the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron in Auckland, where it resided from 1995 until 2003.

Despite relinquishing the point advantage they held at the beginning of the day, ORACLE TEAM USA helmsman Jimmy Spithill is refusing to panic, especially with the experience of overturning an 8-1 deficit to the same opposition in 2013.

"I think you've got two of the best teams in the world going head-to-head in a real heavyweight battle and man, ".

“Clearly we were not sailing at our best but we also had our opportunities.

"We've been in this position before and we've had less time before so we've got five important days and we'll be using every single hour of them".

Oracle does have history on its side.

After almost four years, Jimmy Spithill will once again lead Oracle Team USA into battle against Emirates Team New Zealand.

Coutts has been the CEO of Oracle Team USA since it beat Alinghi in 2010.

Oracle Team USA is looking to win its third consecutive America's Cup, a feat last achieved by the same team in the 1930s.

"It's a very, very competitive boat, guys have done a lot of work, a lot of upgrading on it and we feel we'll be competitive".

The challengers, who won both races on the opening day of action on Saturday, were again in control on the sparkling waters of Bermuda's Great Sound.

"We're under no illusions", helsman Peter Burling, 26, said. "We know if we stand still these guys will be catching us".

But the Kiwis later came off their foils during a hard maneuver and slowed dramatically in the tough conditions, losing half their lead. The Kiwis used the same foils they did in speeding to two victories on Saturday while the American-backed crew appeared to use two different foils. Olympic rowing champion Joe Sullivan replaced him for Race 4.

Four years ago, New Zealand were eventually overhauled by an Oracle team that featured Britain's Ben Ainslie as tactician in what is regarded as one of sport's great comebacks.

"I think it just shows that you guys will fall for anything", Spithill chuckled.