San Francisco, CA, United States (4E Sports) – Emirates Team New Zealand captured both races in the opening day of the 34th America’s Cup Saturday against defending champion Oracle Team USA at San Francisco Bay.
The Kiwis won the opening stage of the race-to-nine affair by 36 seconds and followed it up with a 52-second win in Race 2, surprising spectators who flocked the America’s Cup Park.
In Race 1, the Kiwis averaged 30.07 knots compared to Oracle’s 28.58 knots to finish the 9.71 nautical-mile course in 23 minutes, 30 seconds.
In Race 2, the Kiwis finished the 10.11 nautical-mile course in 22 minutes, 46 seconds while Oracle tackled it in 23 minutes and 38 seconds.
The Kiwis averaged 30.12 knots, with a top speed of 46 knots, while Oracle was slower, having an average speed of just 28.92 knots and a top speed of 42.87 knots.
In the second race, both crews were close to the start line and slow at the gun, but Emirates Team New Zealand got up to speed and took a two-second lead.
Emirates Team New Zealand fended off Oracle on the first run and led by seven seconds at the leeward gate, beginning the three-mile beat.
At the whirlwind gate, the Kiwis padded their lead to 46 seconds en route to a strong finish.
The first-day action didn’t disappoint spectators, who witnessed the capabilities of the AC72, the most technologically advanced America’s Cup Class ever designed.
Powered by wing sails 131 feet tall and riding on hydrofoils that lift the platform clear of the water, the AC72 is capable of covering its 72-foot length in a single second.
“Hydrofoiling is one of the coolest advancements in this America’s Cup,” said Oracle skipper Jimmy Spithill. “Foils are the future. It’s so exciting to get out on foils and I’m looking forward to seeing where it ends up in five or six years.”
“Foiling is a cool sensation,” said Emirates skipper Dean Barker. “The boat, as it comes up out of the water, accelerates. You gain 3, 4, 5 knots boatspeed as the hulls pop clear.”
The next two races will be held Sunday.