New Zealand notches first win with solo trip around course 

The America's Cup is officially underway as Sunday brought the first race of the Louis Vuitton Cup, which will produce the challenger for the America's Cup final in September.

The opener, however, was not without controversy. Luna Rossa Challenge sat out the race as a form of boycott while awaiting the decision of an international jury regarding new safety measures introduced by regatta director Iain Murray.

The jury is scheduled to meet today, though there is no timetable for their decision.

As it was, Emirates Team New Zealand ran the course alone and received the first point of the series.

While the Kiwis were happy to get a win on their record early, the event left the crew members longing for more action.

"It's good to get simple points on the board," said Ray Davies, New Zealand's tactician. "But really, it'd be nice to get into some proper racing."

Team skipper Dean Barker, however, said the day was not without value to the team, and still had plenty in common with what he expects from the rest of the competition.

"The thing with these boats is," he said, "there's a certain element where you are just racing yourself, regardless of whether there's another boat on the course or not. The boats require really tight coordination between all the guys to pull off good jibes, good maneuvers all the time, whether there's another boat there or not you need to be able to execute them. The difference when you have the pressure of another boat, that's when things can go wayward, and that's what you need to be able to prepare for."

In the meantime, Luna Rossa watched from shore, trying to learn what they could about New Zealand's tactics and vessel from a distance.

The teams are scheduled to face each other Saturday at 12:15 p.m. and again on July 21 and 28 as part of the round-robin schedule leading up to the semifinals from Aug. 6-15, and the finals from Aug. 17-30.

"Every time watching them we learn something more about them," said Luna Rossa skipper Massimiliano Sirena. "Today for us obviously it was hard to be on the shore as a sailor, as a sportsman. But again, we went out watching them and try to steal out of them the way they are sailing boats."

The next race is scheduled for Tuesday, between Artemis Racing and Team New Zealand. This may also be a one-team event, however, as Artemis is still recovering from an accident in May that claimed the life of the team's strategist, Andrew Simpson, and damaged the team's vessel.

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