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March 11, 2021

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America’s Cup rivals all square after day one

Team New Zealand and Luna Rossa were all square at 1-1 after the first two races of the 36th America’s Cup off the coast of Auckland yesterday, the opening day of a contest for the oldest trophy in international sport.

Defender TNZ won the first race in the best-of-13 match by 31 seconds after Luna Rossa fluffed the start but the Italian challenger charged back to take the second by 7 seconds. TNZ skipper Peter Burling conceded his team had not been at their very best in their first races for some three months, particularly at the start of the second race. “Looked a little bit rusty on that one but it was good to get back a bit on them and really show that we have good downwind (speed),” the Olympic champion said. The first day of racing, which was delayed for four days by a coronavirus lockdown in Auckland, confirmed that the battle for the ‘Auld Mug’ would at least be a contest after rumors that TNZ had far superior speed. The Italians were swept 5-0 the last time they took on the New Zealanders for the America’s Cup in Auckland 21 years ago. “I thought the boys sailed a great race,” Luna Rossa’s Australian co-helmsman Jimmy Spithill, who won two America’s Cups as the Oracle team skipper, said after the second race.


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