Team New Zealand took a commanding 4-1 lead in the Louis Vuitton Cup final with two big wins over Luna Rossa in San Francisco today.
For the first time in this challengers final two races were held as the wind stayed within the required limits.
And for the first time two boats finished both races, a pleasing alternative to the gear failures that had turned the first three races into one-boat affairs.
But still there was only one boat in the reckoning today with Team New Zealand vastly superior.
They won the opening race today by a massive 2m 16sec and were almost as impressive in the next, fighting off a more dogged Luna Rossa to eventually clear out for a 1min 28sec victory.
The two syndicates are racing a best of 13 series to see who will challenge Oracle for the America's Cup and, apart from the electrical malfunction that stalled Team New Zealand on Monday, there appears to be no stopping the Kiwis.
Coming on top of a victory in the jury room this morning where Oracle were forced to withdraw their claims of trespassing against Team New Zealand and Luna Rossa, it was a great day for the Kiwis.
And skipper Dean Barker hammered that home when he cleaned out Chris Draper in the prestart for the first race and then out-paced him in a drag-race off the line in the second race.
Draper was sloppy in the opening race, incuring a penalty for going out of bounds that didn't help the sluggish Italians.
Luna Rossa were more competitive over the first three legs of the second encounter, providing some welcome comeptition for Barker's boys.
But when they needed to apply the pressure, tactician Ray Davies made all the right calls on Aoetaroa as they stretched out for another impressive victory.
It was a slick day for the Kiwis, as good as any by them in this troubled regatta, but Barker is demanding more.
"I don't know if you ever get off one of these things and say you sailed a perfect race. I thought the guys did a really nice job all the way around but we can always do things a bit better and we have to keep improving."
Barker said there was no point in putting the handbrake on despite their obvious advantage over the Italians.
"In these boats you just get penalised every time you try to be conservative," he said.
"You get rewarded for pushing hard. The manoeuvres get easier when you go faster. Of course, you can hit the limit now and then."
- © Fairfax NZ News