America's Cup: Team New Zealand hold the edge over Team USA

Rival helmsmen Peter Burling and Jimmy Spithill with the prize on offer in Bermuda

Helmsman Peter Burling, 26, took the lead in the fourth race and extended it, as he had in the previous race.

It wasn't the cleanest start to sailing's biggest regatta, leaving more questions than answers as both teams headed back to their bases to pore over data and figure out where they need to sharpen up. We had our chances, but these guys made fewer mistakes.

Team New Zealand have taken a 3-0 lead over Oracle Team USA after two strong performances today.

"We've known all along that to win the America's Cup we had to win eight races and so to get two wins on the board already is fantastic".

But skipper Jimmy Spithill and his crew, although outwardly confident, will not be taking anything for granted in their quest for a third successive win after seeing how New Zealand have performed to become the challenger for the "Auld Mug", which was first claimed in 1851 by the schooner "America".

Race 2 is to follow.

"I'm expecting it's going to be one hell of a fight", Spithill said in a skippers press conference on Friday. "This is not going to be anything less that a huge battle we are expecting".

“I think we saw just how a couple of times these guys built up a healthy lead and in the blink of an eye its back on again.

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"By that stage, we had wasted a lot of time, so Pete made a decision to tack over and from there, we were in a compromised position, but we managed to get some dirty air on them and they couldn't accelerate to leeward of us".

That's a reference to Spithill being Australian, as are other key decision-makers on the crew of Oracle, which is owned by American software billionaire Larry Ellison.

Two races are scheduled on both days this weekend, beginning at 14:12 local time (1:12pm ET).

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Because they won the last two and in 37-year-old Jimmy Spithill have the more experienced helmsman, Oracle are favourites in this first-to-seven match race.

But the Kiwis came off their foils during a hard maneuver and slowed dramatically in light, shifty wind, losing half their lead. "We were able to get off the line well and get round that mark just in front, but unfortunately we just didn't pull that gybe off and they were able to roll us out of the gybe".

The Kiwi's control system, which is manned by skipper Glenn Ashby, means that they can also be fast and accurate going into manoeuvres and coming out.

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