Team NZ wins America's Cup World Series

·2-min read

Defender Team New Zealand gained an early psychological edge over their America's Cup rivals when they beat United States challenger American Magic and Italian challenger Luna Rossa to clinch the America's Cup World Series off Auckland, New Zealand.

The World Series is not part of the actual Cup regatta which begins in January with a series to find the top challenger who will race Team New Zealand in March in the 36th Cup match.

But it was the first chance for the defender and challengers from Britain, Italy and the United States to race against each other in the high-tech, foiling AC75 class yachts and Team New Zealand laid down an early marker with their win.

American Magic and Team New Zealand came into Saturday's final round of races jointly atop the leader board with matching 3-1 records. The United States challenger had an advantage on count back from having beaten New Zealand when the teams first raced on Thursday, the opening day of the Series' double round-robin.

That win by American Magic was heartening for the challengers as it tarnished the image of invincibility which has begun to grow around the Kiwi team.

With two race wins on Saturday, Team New Zealand again showed they has a fast boat - perhaps the fastest among the four competing teams at this stage - and that they will be hard to beat if they make no tactical or boat handling errors.

There was drama in the final race of the round-robin event when Team New Zealand crossed the finish line just 16 seconds ahead of Luna Rossa to clinch the series.

In their race against American Magic, New Zealand also lost the start but sailed to the finish line one minute 19 seconds ahead.

Britain's INEOS Team UK had another bad day, losing their races against Luna Rossa and American Magic by wide margins.

New Zealand now take top seeding into Sunday's Christmas Cup regatta. They will race Team UK in the semi-finals while American Magic will race Luna Rossa, the winners of each race facing each other in the final.