New Zealand opens America’s Cup with two wins

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SAN FRANCISCO — The first day of the newfangled America’s Cup on sparkling San Francisco Bay ended with Emirates Team New Zealand skimming above the waves faster and better than defending champion Oracle Team USA.

The Kiwis, who had been considered the underdog until Oracle was hit with the harshest penalties in the regatta’s 162-year history, won the first two races of the 34th America’s Cup on Saturday with what appeared to be better boat speed, tactics, and crew work aboard their high-performance, 72-foot catamaran.

‘‘For us, it couldn’t have been a better start,’’ said Dean Barker, the low-key Kiwi skipper. ‘‘I'm really proud of the way the guys sailed. The boat was spot-on today.’’

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