Team New Zealand find winning form

DUNCAN JOHNSTONE
Last updated 05:00 05/10/2012

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Team New Zealand made a statement with a commanding return to winning form on the opening day of the latest America's Cup world series regatta in San Francisco yesterday.

Desperate to get back into the groove after a sloppy regatta at the same venue seven weeks ago, Dean Barker's crew notched an impressive win over Sweden's Artemis Racing Red in a qualifying race.

Of the six match races completed yesterday. TNZ's 50.8s victory was the biggest winning margin as the 45-foot catamarans revelled in the 20 knots of wind.

Barker won the start and took full control. The win put the Kiwis straight through to a quarter-final matchup with France's Team Energy today.

TNZ boss Grant Dalton was highly critical of the last effort in San Francisco but had praise for his crew yesterday.

"They sailed a really neat race, tidy. It was quite windy so there was plenty of opportunity, but I thought it was nicely controlled," Dalton said.

New trimmer Adam Beashel said: "Conditions were just marginally on the top end with the strong ebb tide kicking in, it was a little bit bumpy, but a pretty good ride really.

"We enjoyed a good clean race. Luckily we led from the start and followed with some solid boat handling right around the track to maintain our lead and get away with a victory."

Barker wasn't the only Kiwi in winning form.

New Zealand Olympic silver medallist Peter Burling made a fine debut, guiding Team Korea to a qualifying win over Luna Rossa Piranha.

Two fleet races will also be sailed today.

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