TODAY |

Team NZ kick off first official America's Cup practice, instantly face off with Americans

Team New Zealand has kicked off official practice for the next America's Cup this afternoon and weren't afraid to let their AC75 fly.

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The New Zealanders had the honour of starting today's official proceedings and they were quick to get to work. Source: 1 NEWS

The defenders were first up this afternoon after regatta director Iain Murray called for the first session to start at 3:10pm, giving the Kiwis the starting zone for three practice starts until 3:40pm.

One of the big differences from an official practice in comparison to what the sailing crews have been doing so far is that they're allowed to engage with each other on the water as long as they inform Murray they are inviting other syndicates into their practice - and Team NZ were straight into it.

Team NZ spent their first session practising against American Magic as they danced around each other in the Course E zone which is placed between Maraetai Beach and Waiheke Island.

While the two boats didn't actually race each other, they did get a chance to practise their pre-start manoeuvres which is just as important on the fast foiling monohulls.

After Team NZ's allotted time, the challengers were given the rights to the starting zone for a three-hour session.

Another practice session is scheduled for Thursday afternoon before practice races take place on Friday as well as next Monday and Tuesday.

The first official race isn't until Thursday December 17 when the teams come together for the four-day world series and Christmas Cup regatta.