Ashby’s flying start in America’s Cup final

SPEED MACHINES: Team New Zealand, right, leads Team USA in race three of the America's Cup series. Picture: GETTY IMAGES
SPEED MACHINES: Team New Zealand, right, leads Team USA in race three of the America's Cup series. Picture: GETTY IMAGES

Bendigo’s Glenn Ashby and Team New Zealand made a stunning start to the America’s Cup finals series against Team USA.

Ashby, the skipper of Team New Zealand, led the Kiwis to a 3-0 lead in the first to seven wins series in Bermuda.

Team New Zealand needs to win four more races to return the Auld Mug to the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron in Auckland, where it resided from 1995-2003.

The teams have a five-day break before racing resumes next Saturday and Sunday.

"You like to sort of keep going while you're on a bit of a roll, but the schedule is the schedule and we've known that for a long time - we understand while they have chosen to hold it over the weekends," Ashby said.

Glenn Ashby

Glenn Ashby

"We've still got plenty of things to work on the boat over the next few days, so it gives us the opportunity to keep developing as well."

Oracle needs to win seven to keep the silver trophy in the hands of one of the world's richest men, software tycoon Larry Ellison, who has been watching the shellacking from a team support boat.

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 nearly folded after their epic collapse in the 2013 America's Cup on San Francisco Bay.

In 2013, Ashby and the Kiwis led the best of 17-race series 8-1, but incredibly lost eight-straight races and suffered a humiliating defeat. 

The Kiwis started this series on minus-one point because they were the challengers, but four wins from the opening four races as them well-placed for victory.

"I think it's pretty obvious these guys are faster and we need to make some serious changes," a glum-looking Team USA captain James Spithill said.

"Today I thought we got off the line pretty well, but they were pretty impressive accelerating. ... Clearly we need to now put everything back on the table.

"I think these next five days will be the most important five days of the campaign," he said.

Team New Zealand helmsman Peter Burling, an America's Cup rookie who has won Olympic gold and silver medals with grinder Blair Tuke, steered the Kiwis to victories of 49 seconds and 1 minute, 12 seconds on the turquoise waters of the Great Sound.

"Today was a really good day for us," Burling said.

"We tidied up a lot of those little errors we made yesterday around the course and I think that really showed.

“Our team's really hungry to keep learning, keep moving forward, keep improving. ... We know if we stand still these guys will be catching us."