Dean Barker and Team New Zealand struggled to shake the rust off their Extreme Sailing Series effort as they finished the first day of the Cardiff regatta in seventh place today.
Barker, taking back the helm from Peter Burling who handled the last two events, was slow off the starting lines in the nine quick-fire races.
Only a win in the seventh race helped them gain some respectability on a points table dominated by Sir Ben Ainslie's British crew, who were helped by some coaching from New Zealand America's Cup hall of famer Simon Daubney.
With three days left, Team New Zealand faces a game of catchup.
"It was tough today and I felt a little rusty as I haven't raced in the series since Oman so I can see some of the other teams are at a really high level", admitted Barker.
"As a team we've got to eliminate some of the mistakes. We didn't get off of the start line as well as we'd have liked in a couple of the races, and just made a few little mistakes around the course which adds up at the end of the day. We found ourselves as a bit of a deficit to the leading group but it's early days so there's still a lot of opportunity to gain back.
"We are in a very positive frame of mind. Our speed is good and we're sailing the boat pretty well around the course. We need better starts and we need to manage situations better when the opportunities arise."
Today's racing was held in a building breeze. Team New Zealand managed to finish the day in one piece, unlike GAC Pindar collided with Groupama when rounding the mark, leaving both with a long night of repairs ahead.
Extreme Sailing Series
Cardiff standings after Day 1, 9 races
1 J.P. Morgan BAR (GBR) 70 points.
2 SAP Extreme Sailing Team (DEN) 62 points.
3 Alinghi (SUI) 61 points.
4 The Wave, Muscat (OMA) 58 points.
5 Realteam by Realstone (SUI) 56 points.
6 Oman Air (OMA) 44 points.
7 Emirates Team New Zealand 37 points.
8 Red Bull Sailing Team (AUT) 33 points.
9 Groupama sailing team (FRA) 33 points.
10 Gazprom Team Russia (RUS) 26 points.
11 GAC Pindar (AUS) 21 points.
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