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New Zealand SailGP team heads into debut race with minimal training

The New Zealand SailGP team will head into its debut race this morning with barely any preparation, but that does not mean they should be counted out.

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The team have only had one day of practice before racing starts tomorrow. Source: 1 NEWS

The team is led by America's Cup winners Peter Burling and Blair Tuke, who are coming to grips with a brand new boat, having had just their first day out on the water yesterday.

"Feels great to finally get sailing ... we had a few teething issue which slowed us down a little bit," Burling said.

"We're going to have to learn fast," Tuke added.

"We don't have super high expectations for this first event, I mean we're a brand new team in these boats."

Tuke compared the move from the AC75 used in the America's Cup to the F50 in SailGP to going from a racecar to a go kart.

"We've been sailing with the AC75, quite a big powerful boat and this is a lot smaller and quite flighty."

Their training was under the watchful eyes of their rivals, including Japan-born, New Zealand-raised sailor Leo Takahashi.

"It's not the best preparation you want but you look at the calibre of these guys and sometimes you have to go oh these boys will figure it out," Takahashi told 1 NEWS.

"We're definitely not going to take it easy on them for sure."

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Light wind forecasts for Sunday's original start date prompted the change to what is anticipated will be a much more lively race day today.

That means the Kiwis are not exactly being eased into it.

"You're going to see boats crashing, boats tipping over. You're going to see the 50-knot barrier broken," Takahashi predicted.

The 2021 SailGP season opened in Bermuda today at 5am, New Zealand time.