Fill-in skipper Jimmy Spithill has steered Team Australia's 'Flying Roo' foiling catamaran to finishes of third, first and third and into the lead of the Dubai SailGP.
The three-time defending SailGP champion Australians are in position for their first regatta win of season four.
Despite not having a victory this season, they came into this regatta with a seven-point lead in the overall standings of the global league.
Spithill - who left Team USA two weeks ago - is subbing for friend and fellow countryman Tom Slingsby, who is on paternity leave.
The new-look Team USA, with Taylor Canfield on the helm, had a disappointing debut by going 8-9-9 to sit last in the fleet of 10 identical 50-foot wing-sailed catamarans.
Slingsby has skippered the Aussies to victory in three straight season championships, each bringing a $US1 million ($A1.5 million) prize.
That prize has been increased to $US2 million this season.
"It felt great," Spithill said.
"You can definitely see this is a benchmark team in the league. They are a very slick team.
"I am just trying to get in there and not make too many mistakes. It is a great group and a great atmosphere."
After two more fleet races, the top three boats advance to the podium race.
A double world champion, Sydney-born Spithill is best known for steering Ellison's Oracle Team USA to consecutive America's Cup victories.
He plans to start an Italian SailGP team for season five that will begin following the 37th America's Cup next October.
The Australian crew, full of America's Cup and Olympic veterans, has 26 points, followed by New Zealand and Canada with 21 and Emirates Great Britain and France with 20 apiece.
Spithill had a convincing win in the second fleet race aboard the 'Flying Roo', which has a large gold kangaroo on the wingsail.
New Zealander Phil Robertson steered Canada to victory in the first race while Sir Ben Ainslie took advantage of a mistake by the French to win the third for Great Britain.
Australian Associated Press