In the first race, Spithill was over the starting line early, forcing him to drop two boat lengths behind to clear the penalty.
One of the more intriguing matchups, besides how the teams 50-foot, foiling catamarans compare and how well the crews sail them, is how Team New Zealand helmsman Peter Burling, a 26-year-old Americas Cup rookie, holds up against Spithill.
Having closed the gap, ORACLE TEAM USA's yacht came down off its foils and that gave Emirates Team New Zealand the chance to re-establish their lead.
Although they won twice, by 30 seconds and 1 minute, 28 seconds, the Kiwis lead just 1-0.
In 2013, he helped lead one of the greatest comebacks in sports, when Oracle, down 8-1 at match point to the Kiwis, won eight straight races on San Francisco Bay to retain the oldest trophy in worldwide sports.
Oracle earned a bonus point for winning the qualifiers, but it was actually a negative point for the Kiwis, so the first-race win merely erased that.
Team New Zealand after their win in race number one.
Although they have won three races, the Kiwis lead Oracle 2-0.
Emirates Team New Zealand Skipper Glenn Ashby was quick to highlight they had plenty to improve and work on over the next 10 days if the team are to be ultimately successful. Theyre going to be there when we need them..
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However, a five-day break until race five and six on Sunday (NZT) will allow Team USA to make changes to its teetering defence.
The match-up between ORACLE TEAM USA and Emirates Team New Zealand is a rematch of the 2013 America's Cup Match in which ORACLE TEAM USA staged what many call the greatest comeback in sport.
Coutts has been the CEO of Oracle Team USA since it beat Alinghi in 2010.
"But Peter Burling is young and he learns very quickly and he has a good boat. he's very confident with the speed of his boat and with that you can compete better", Cammas said, adding that Spithill's ability to come out fighting even when his back is against the wall will count for a lot.
Oracle Team USA is looking to win its third consecutive America's Cup, a feat last achieved by the same team in the 1930s.
The always-innovative Kiwis are using a "cyclor" grinding system.
In 1988, after turning back New Zealand's rogue challenge with his catamaran defense, Conner engaged with some unpleasantness as a news conference ended, telling Kiwi boat designer Bruce Farr: "Get lost".
"I think it just shows that you guys will fall for anything", Spithill chuckled.
That was enough for Burling to speed away around the seven-leg course for a 49-second victory.