But while the America's Cup is as much a design as a sailing race, with tens of millions of dollars invested in the racing boats, psychological games are also crucial. With that victory, Skipper Jimmy Spithill made more history, tying Sir Russell Coutts' winning record in America's Cup Match races, recording his 14th victory, the same as Coutts.
Defending champions the United States of America took their first win in race six on Saturday but were again easily distanced on Sunday.
"They really were a class above in this America's Cup".
Until the sixth race, the powerhouse American-backed squad, crewed mostly by Australians, had been humbled by the underfunded but crafty Kiwis, helmed by 26-year-old Peter Burling.
Oracle Team USA have spent the week working on their catamaran in an effort to match the speed of their New Zealand rivals, who had until Saturday's races looked far faster on all points of sailing. "We thought we'd be able to pull the manoeuvrer off". We now have confidence in the tool we have, which is the most important thing. He said he and tactician Tom Slingsby, a fellow Aussie, will decide if there will be any crew changes for Monday.
"We had to wipe out a little bit of boat speed and did a little turn we didn't need to do", Spithill later said.
So, while predecessor Dean Barker's 2013 challenge ended at the final hurdle, Burling's Team New Zealand are a different story. It's an onfield decision, you've just got to live with it. "I feel like we answered them with our performance on the water".
"We know we can do this", Spithill said. We've seen these guys taking days off. "If we think the team's got a better chance with me on the wheel, clearly I'll go on the wheel".
Were really happy with the lead we have got and well come back stronger, expecting a really great battle in the coming races.. They're very young. All of them bar the skipper are under 30.
In today's first race the critical mistake came during the pre-start, when on the final approach to the starting line Spithill - perhaps mindful of being over early during Saturday's racing - bore away briefly and opened the door for the Kiwi's to break away unchallenged.
"They (Emirates Team New Zealand) sailed better than us today and made a lot fewer mistakes", conceded Jimmy Spithill on what was a disappointing day for Oracle Team USA.
He crossed ahead on the third leg.
Emirates Team New Zealand has won win its fifth straight race in the America's Cup, benefiting from two penalties against two-time defending champion Oracle Team USA.
He says to get the America's Cup, Emirates Team New Zealand need have to win one more race where the US need to win six.