America's Cup 2021: Team NZ 'dodged bullets' on sensational day of racing

Emirates Team NZ have "dodged a couple of bullets" for heart-stopping victories in Monday's America's Cup racing, says commentator Ken Read. 

On a dramatic day on the water, the Kiwis won races seven and eight, putting themselves in the box seat to retain the America's Cup as early as Tuesday. The two wins give 

Team NZ a 5-3 lead in the first-to-seven series against Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli.

Those wins didn't come easily for the home team. In race seven, Team NZ lost the start to the Italian challengers, only to fight back and pull off the first true pass of the regatta, sailing away for a 58-second win.

The drama didn't stop there. In the second race of the day, the Kiwis came off their foils, losing all their momentum and falling as far as 2km behind. 

But rather than sit back and accept defeat, Team NZ chased hard and when Luna Rossa made the mistake of falling off their own foils, the Kiwis pounced.

Three separate penalties against the Italians and outstanding display from Team NZ gave them the lead, passing for the second time in the day and racing away again - this time by an emphatic 3m 55s.

Speaking to Newshub after the day's racing, Read hailed an incredible day on the water, and display from Team NZ. 

"Drama, suspense, but the better word is pure insanity," he says. "Frankly New Zealand, you dodged a couple of bullets today.

"You were behind in the first race, way behind in the second race. 

"My goodness, what a turn of events. Unbelievable."

Despite the scale of the fightback, Read insists Team NZ's success can't be dismissed as luck.

"Luck is created, luck is made," he says. "In that first race, we saw the speed that was always rumoured.

"That boat was ripping in the first race. There was no holding them back, essentially in the first race.

"In the second race, it was different. The jib choice was better on the Italian boat, they got themselves out to a bit of a lead - a fairly dominant lead at one stage.

"The Kiwis fall off the foils, all of a sudden it's game over, right? No, no, no no.

"This is the modern America's Cup - this is what we came for."

Two more race wins would see Team NZ defend the America's Cup - that could happen as early as Tuesday.

Join us at 4:15pm Tuesday for live updates of the America's Cup series between Team NZ and Luna Rossa