Blair Tuke says Team NZ's mistakes are 'easy to fix' as they look to build on good start

Emirates Team New Zealand's foils controller Blair Tuke sorts out some strategy between races on the opening day of the ...
SANDER VAN DER BORCH/ ACEA 2017

Emirates Team New Zealand's foils controller Blair Tuke sorts out some strategy between races on the opening day of the America's Cup.

Blair Tuke is confident Team New Zealand can "iron out the problems" quickly as they look to continue their momentum in the America's Cup match.

The Kiwis won the opening two races against defenders Oracle Team USA in Bermuda on Sunday.

A distinct advantage in boat speed had them comfortable in both races sailed in 7-10 knots of wind. But a couple of untimely errors gave Oracle a sniff.

Team New Zealand recovered both times to see out victories that have them 1-0 up on the scoreboard, having started at -1 after Oracle won a bonus point from the round-robin series earlier in the month.

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Emirates Team New Zealand were fast out of the blocks in both their races against Oracle Team USA on Sunday.
SANDER VAN DER BORCH / ACEA

Emirates Team New Zealand were fast out of the blocks in both their races against Oracle Team USA on Sunday.

The washup to the opening day sees Team New Zealand with far less headaches than Oracle who must find ways to again hunt down an innovative Kiwi boat that seems to be getting quicker.

"Really those were just some crew mistakes and pretty easy ones to to fix. That's the pleasing thing," Tuke, who mixes cycling with foil adjustments, said of a couple of incidents that blotted a hugely rewarding day.

"To let them back into the race with a couple of errors like we did was disappointing. But we will iron those out and come back fighting.

"Our boat speed is going pretty good and we held our composure and still got two wins, so it's not too bad.

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"We did some really good things today ... started well and got to the bottom mark in good shape.  At the end of the day if you can walk away and win the first two races and have things to work on, it's a good day."

New Zealand backed up their slick boat by putting it in the right places at the right times for most a difficult, shifty day.

Tuke, Peter Burling, Andy Maloney, Josh Junior and Simon van Velthooven all made their America's Cup match debuts alongside skipper Glenn Ashby, a survivor from San Francisco.

Tuke said there was excitement more than nerves among the fresh young faces fronting against Jimmy Spithill's veteran crew.

"It was exciting. For five of us on board it was our first-ever America's Cup race and to be able to represent New Zealand and do that alongside a bunch of your great mates is really cool," Olympic gold and silver medallist Tuke said.

"We warmed up well and got straight into our routines. Everyone is in a good mood. It's an exciting time of our lives."

Ashby praised the work of his youngsters, particularly those on the cycles as they worked overtime to get Aotearoa around the course in the lighter breeze.

"Probably the hardest day today was for the guys up front, providing the hydraulic oil to operate the boat well. They did a fantastic job," Ashby said.

"The movement of the jib and the wing today as well as the daggerboards was absolutely constant the whole way through the races. To be able to sail the boats accurately on those puffy, shifty days, you do need to move a lot of sheet around and the board around quite a lot.

"We made a few human errors today with our boat handling at times – the other guys did as well – which we will work on to address.

"But I think one of the good takeaways today was that we started very well and that set us up for the day.

"Only one point but two race wins, it couldn't be better in that sense."

 - Stuff

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