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Burling sets Team NZ up for solid start

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 10/09/2016

Peter Burling at the Rio Olympics © Clive Mason/Getty Images Peter Burling at the Rio Olympics Olympic gold medallist Peter Burling's starting skills in light winds have boosted Team New Zealand to a solid start in the America's Cup world series racing in Toulon.

Burling read the light and puffy Mediterranean breeze well, crafting two strong starts at the windward end of the line in the first two races of the day.

But it wasn't all about the starts on a course which was always open to big gains and losses, with position throughout the race key to picking the ever-changing wind shifts.

The Kiwis finished with two second placings and a sixth from the three races, and tactician Ray Davies was kept busy perched on the bow of the AC45, scanning the course ahead for the next indication of best breeze.

"It was certainly a day to keep your head out of the boat - the conditions were extremely testing out there," he said.

The third race of the day proved especially challenging, and the Kiwis found themselves on the wrong side of a big wind shift after rounding the bottom mark.

All of the pressure made a hasty shift to the right hand side of the course, and Team New Zealand were left to battle home in last place.

They sit third overall after the first day's racing, one point astray of the second-placed French boat and five behind Swedish leaders Artemis.

With double points on offer in day two's racing, and similar conditions forecast, Davies says the Kiwis are well placed to finish the regatta strongly.

Britain's Ben Ainslie-skippered BAR lead the overall standings after seven events on 387 points, with Team USA second on exactly the same amount.

Team New Zealand are third with 380, well clear of fourth-placed Japan - skippered by Dean Barker - on 347.

The ninth world series regatta is scheduled for Fukuoka in Japan on November 18-20.

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