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Team USA notch first win over Team NZ

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 24/06/2017

Team NZ aren't panicking despite losing for the first time to Team USA in the America's Cup Match, reducing their advantage to 4-1.

Kiwi skipper Peter Burling was in laconic form after the holders won an exciting sixth race by 11 seconds off Bermuda.

"It was great to see those boys sailing a little bit better," Burling said of his Team USA rivals, who squashed a growing belief the challengers would sweep the series.

The Americans, skippered by Australian Jimmy Spithill, have breathed life into the race-to-seven decider, looking sharper in a boat which has clearly benefited from five days of development work.

Team USA accelerated clear off the start line to lead around mark one and two for the first time.

Little separated the boats for the remainder but victory was effectively sealed when Spithill made gains late on leg five upwind and shot sufficiently clear downwind.

"I just missed a few shifts at the top of that beat and let them back into it, which was a bit disappointing but we'll walk away from it and come back stronger tomorrow," Burling said.

Team NZ won race five by more than two minutes earlier on Sunday (NZT), capitalising on two early American mistakes which resulted in penalties.

Burling was happy with his boat and crew performance in both races.

"I was pleased with how the boys fought back in that second race. We always knew it was going to be hard if these guys (Team USA) sail well and we're just excited about the battle ahead," he said.

"We're set up for a battle."

Team NZ, who need three more wins to secure victory, had made few apparent changes to their boat during the five-day break after having opened up a 3-0 lead.

Races seven and eight are scheduled for Monday (NZT) where similar wind speeds of 8-10 knots are forecast.

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