NZ build on lead over USA in America's Cup

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Peter Burling steered Emirates Team New Zealand to another runaway victory against Jimmy Spithill and two-time defending champion Oracle Team USA in Race 3 of the America's Cup on Sunday to remain undefeated in the showdown on the Great Sound.

New Zealand helmsman Peter Burling, 26, won both races against defending USA champion Jimmy Spithill in an upset as the Kiwi team made a strong start in the first day of the first to seven competition.

The Kiwi boat showed superior speed in both races in the first direct comparison of the high-tech 50-foot (15 meter) catamarans' performance.

Having closed the gap, ORACLE TEAM USA's yacht came down off its foils and that gave Emirates Team New Zealand the chance to re-establish their lead.

The match is now even at 0-0. Spithill and Oracle Team USA won the race and the advantage.

New Zealand, now helmed by self-possessed 26-year-old Peter Burling, emerged from a group of five would-be challengers in qualifying that saw the likes of four-time Olympic gold medalist Ben Ainslie of Britain and Dean Barker - the 2013 Team New Zealand skipper who had taken the helm at SoftBank Team Japan - fall by the wayside.

Although they have won three races, the Kiwis lead Oracle 2-0.

The New Zealand team are a fast, well-oiled machine with their aerodynamic pod of four "cyclor" sailors, who supply the energy needed to power the boat's massive wing sail by pedalling on bikes.

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'I definitely think this bonus point advantage is going to be important, ' Spithill said. "We're obviously going to put some hours in now, really have a good look back through all the video, all the data, sharpen up and come out swinging tomorrow". There are two more races scheduled for tomorrowwith similar light conditions forecast.

"It's pretty obvious, these guys are faster and we need to make some serious changes", Spithill said.

Team New Zealand crushed Oracle in the second race of the day by more than a minute.

Hes already going strong as he attempts to win a third straight Americas Cup with Oracle Team USA, the powerhouse squad owned by software billionaire Larry Ellison.

"We thought we were coming back when we wanted to but as it turned out we were wrong, it is something we will have to go back and look at".

Race Two: Emirates Team New Zealand beat ORACLE TEAM USA by 1 minute and 28 seconds.

Oracle made huge gains up the fifth leg and were within a couple of metres rounding the top mark, but immediately fell off their foils on a gybe and lost several hundred metres in the space of a few seconds.