Dean Barker failed to find wriggle room in a hot-shot fleet, and paid for it on Emirates Team New Zealand's first day of racing in the America's Cup World Series regatta in San Francisco.
The Kiwis did not ignite in the first two fleet races, finishing eighth and ninth in an 11-cat fleet, leaving skipper Barker frustrated.
"Today we were far from our best. We know only too well that if we don't get a good start and if we are not in good shape at the first mark, it's difficult to make opportunities on a one-way course," Barker said afterwards.
"We got to the first mark back in the pack today and we fought to pick up a place here and there but there was no way through."
Barker will demand better from his AC45 crew tomorrow when they meet English Olympic legend Ben Ainslie in their match-racing quarterfinal. It's the first time Ainslie has led his JP Morgan Bar crew in an ACWS event, and he faired only marginally better in fleet racing today - with a 10th and a fifth.
It was the Oracle contingent who shone on their home waters, with Russell Coutts winning the opening fleet race, and Jimmy Spithill taking out the second. The two Artemis Racing crews also reaped the benefits of training on San Francisco Bay for the past month, making the most of the 12-16 knot breezes and flat seas.
Kiwi Phil Robertson, at the helm of the China Team cat, made a strong start and led until mark two of the second race, but the crew slipped back through the fleet to be last boat home.
In the two match-racing quarterfinal sudden-death encounters, Spithill and Artemis White's Terry Hutchinson scored victories over the two Luna Rossa teams.
AC World Series San Francisco
Fleet Racing Championship (Provisional Results) after 2 races:
Oracle Spithill - 2 1 = 22
Oracle Coutts - 1 6 = 18
Artemis Racing Red - 6 2 = 16
Artemis Racing White - 5 3 = 16
Team Korea - 7 4 = 13
Energy Team - 4 7 = 13
Luna Rossa Piranha - 3 8 = 13
J.P. Morgan Bar - 10 5 = 9
Emirates Team New Zealand - 8 9 = 7
Luna Rossa Swordfish - 9 10 = 5
China Team - 11 11 = 2
Artemis Racing White beat Luna Rossa Swordfish, 1-0
Oracle Spithill beat Luna Rossa Piranha, 1-0
- © Fairfax NZ News
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