America’s Cup 2021: Peter Burling finds positive from Team New Zealand’s first day of World Series racing

Keep calm and carry on.

That’s the sentiment from Team New Zealand helmsman Peter Burling, who could only find positives from the first day of the America’s Cup World Series, despite a close loss to American Magic in their second race.

After a one-sided demolition of Luna Rossa in the opening outing, the Kiwis got a reality check later in the afternoon, with Dean Barker and his crew prevailing by 12 seconds in a thriller.

Meanwhile Team New Zealand’s scheduled two races against INEOS Team UK are in some doubt today, with the British team suffering from major problems with their foil cant arms on Thursday, which saw them pull out of their second race, after losing the first by more than five minutes.

Sir Ben Ainslie was clearly agitated afterwards, implying that Team New Zealand have to do more to help the other teams with the equipment, which was designed by the defenders as part of cost containment.

“We are trying to do everything we can to help them there and I am not quite sure what Ben was talking about with us withholding information,” said Burling. “We have been as open book as we can and if there is anything he wants all he has to do is ask our technical team. They have been helping all these teams as much as they can.”

Even though it is extremely early days, there might be a few frowns around the nation, as American Magic proved their trial win earlier this week was no fluke.

But Burling was understandingly nonplussed about the result, preferring to emphasise the lessons from the first official day of action and the fact that they came back to push the Americans to the end, despite an untidy race and some unspecified technical issues at the start.

“For us it doesn’t mean a whole heap, we were really happy we actually managed to get into the race,” said Burling. “We had a few issues going on and our team did an amazing job making sure we had the opportunity to win the race.

“We are really pleased how the boat was going and to be able to actually claw your way back into it – from where we ended up – was pretty good.”

Burling also admitted that having a genuine rival – at least one at this stage – in the New York Yacht club representatives could only be good for the defenders.

“We want close racing, we want to be challenged and we want to learn and improve,” said Burling. “So to have races like that, when things don’t quite go your way and you have to dig a bit deeper and fight hard [is positive].”

Burling also shrugged off the incident at the final mark, when Team New Zealand forced a penalty on the Americans, but there was no net effect, as Barker’s boat fell 50 metres behind almost instantly to wipe the penalty (according to the rules) while Burling’s crew seemed to gain no advantage.

“We still thought the incident was live and we had a lot of issues afterwards from trying to avoid them but at the end of the day the ref blows his whistle and you have to play on,” said Burling.

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