Kiwis lead Youth America's Cup in San Fran

Olympic yachting star Peter Burling seamlessly transferred his skills to the Youth America's Cup today, taking the lead after two races on the opening day in San Francisco.

A second and fourth placings were enough for Burling's Kiwi crew, backed by Team New Zealand and Yachting New Zealand, to head the 10-boat fleet.

The other New Zealand entry, Will Tiller's Full Metal Jacket, lie third overall after a seventh and then an impressive win in the second race.

The regatta is being sailed in the smaller AC45 catamarans with crews of seven, and sailors aged from 19-24.

Burling had brief experience in these high-powered catamarans at last year's America's Cup World Series regatta in San Francisco when he was contracted by Team Korea.

He was reluctantly tagged a favourite for this Youth America's Cup, but showed why today with consistent sailing in good breezes.

Burling has his Olympics partner, Blair Tuke, on board - they won silver at the London games in the 49er class.

The French entry separates the New Zealand teams.

Tiller was impressive as Full Metal Jacket bounced back in the second race today and put it down to a more aggressive start.

"The difference was getting off that start line well in race two and getting to the first mark in the lead," Tiller said. "You've got to get in there early and tussle for your position right up to the start gun. We're learning all the time and getting better and better. We need to because there is quality competition."

Competition is tight with Full Metal Jacket in a three-way tie for third.

A further two races will be held tomorrow.

Fairfax Media