Could Team NZ still be savaged by Oracle TeamUSA?

"It was such a tricky day for both teams, we made a few human errors with our boat handling that we need to work on and address." said Ashby "These guys are only going to get stronger, so we need to also".

The New Zealanders are well aware that it is possible not to win the America's Cup despite an early advantage, after being 8-1 up in San Francisco four years ago before losing to Oracle.

New Zealand last won the America's Cup in 2003 but it has lost two finals since then.

"We will go and put some hours in now, and have a look back through through all the data and all the video and sharpen up, and we'll come out swinging tomorrow".

There's now a five day gap before racing resumes and Oracle plan to make the majority.

Helmsman Peter Burling then compounded the penalty by further slowing down the American boat before foiling away to build a huge lead.

That's a big enough deficit against a New Zealand catamaran that has consistently out-performed Oracle.

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New Zealand, now helmed by self-possessed 26-year-old Peter Burling, emerged from a group of five would-be challengers in qualifying that saw the likes of four-time Olympic gold medalist Ben Ainslie of Britain and Dean Barker - the 2013 Team New Zealand skipper who had taken the helm at SoftBank Team Japan - fall by the wayside.

Emirates Team New Zealand beat Oracle Team USA to level at 0-0 after erasing the US boat's one-point advantage in the first-to-seven America's Cup final on Saturday.

Well-funded Team USA - Ellison is worth an estimated $US55 billion - has five days to come up with some answers to try to counter the spot-on design innovations by the Kiwis, who almost folded after their epic collapse in the 2013 America's Cup on San Francisco Bay. While Team NZ have recorded four wins over the weekend, they entered the Cup match on -1 due to a new format quirk. “Today I thought we got off the line pretty well, but they were pretty impressive accelerating. The Kiwis used the same foils they did in speeding to two victories Saturday while the American-backed crew appeared to use two different foils.

"These are the best boats, the two best crews and we're both highly motivated to win". But we know that. But we know that.

"On paper Jimmy Spithill has a lot of skill for that (America's Cup racing) and it's very natural for him", Groupama Team France skipper Franck Cammas told Reuters on Thursday. Simon van Velthooven, who won a bronze medal in cycling at the London Olympics, was aboard for Race 3.

But its 50-foot catamaran came off its foils during a bad gybe and buried its bows in the water, allowing the Kiwis to speed back ahead and open a lead of about 300 yards.

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