Near-perfect Kiwis take control of America's Cup qualifiers

The Kiwis have shown they can thrive in light winds so Peter Burling and his team won't mind if the winds remain light

SoftBank Team Japan, skippered by former Emirates Team New Zealand sailor Dean Barker, got the better start and built on their lead, with Groupama finding themselves in the doldrums during the middle of the race.

Artemis Racing, Groupama Team France, Land Rover BAR and SoftBank Team Japan round out the competition heading into the next rounds.

Australian skipper Jimmy Spithill's Team USA have powered to victory over Japan to maintain their lead in the America's Cup qualification series.

Team NZ will take on the British Ben Ainslie Racing syndicate in this week's Louis Vuitton America's Cup challenger playoffs.

However, with Oracle Team USA's place in the America's Cup Match already assured as the Defenders of the "Auld Mug", Emirates Team New Zealand were handed the opportunity to select their opposition in the next stage after finishing as the next highest seeded team from the final qualifiers standings.

And perhaps it's only fitting that this Americas Cup is being sailed on the northern tip of the Bermuda Triangle, because it doesn't look like any previous edition in the regatta's 166-year history.

Despite the setback, SoftBank Team Japan recovered brilliantly to close the gap to their rivals ahead of the next gate as the two teams crossed paths before the turn.

The last time BAR raced... The British boat went into the contest with New Zealand aiming to add to their two wins over Sweden.

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Jimmy Spithill's United States crew now progress straight to the main event, where they'll start with a one race advantage thanks to their overall win in the qualifiers. The bonus point is another twist.

The proximity to Team USA may also give Barker, who was dramatically beaten in the America's Cup in San Francisco by the US, better insight than anyone into the defender's weak spots.

Oracle came back later Saturday and beat Land Rover BAR.

Ainslie had previously said he thought Team New Zealand's relative strength in light airs was one of the reasons they chose his team as their semi-final opponent.

America's Cup racing was delayed until Thursday after the wind in Bermuda's Great Sound dropped below the average speed needed for the high-tech catamarans to race on Wednesday.

Set to commence Monday morning at 5.08am (NZT), the race will be pushed back to the same time on Tuesday morning (NZT) when conditions are expected to be better for sailing.

The Kiwis have shown they can thrive in light winds so Peter Burling and his team won't mind if the winds remain light.

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