Oracle goes 2-1 to take lead in America's Cup qualifiers

30 May, 2017, 05:36 | Author: Gregory Stephens

Oracle went 2-0 while Land Rover BAR, Team New Zealand, Artemis Racing of Sweden and SoftBank Team Japan all went 1-1.

Following a closely fought start, Emirates Team New Zealand's pedal power once again looked like it was giving the Kiwi team an advantage as they took a slender 20 second lead over their rivals at Gate 3. That's not a good sign for a country that's tried for 166 years to win back the silver trophy it lost to the schooner America in 1851.

Moments after Oracle Team USA came from behind to beat Emirates Team New Zealand in a thrilling rematch between the 2013 finalists, Ainslie, the skipper of Land Rover BAR, crashed his 50-foot foiling catamaran into SoftBank Team Japan during the prestart of the day's sixth and final race.

For the first time the defending champions are competing in the qualifiers, and Team USA did not disappoint.

With SoftBank Team Japan leading, Artemis Racing came from behind and the boats pulled side-by-side.

Emirates Team New Zealand stretched their lead to 8-1, needing only one more win. "It was really about trying to avoid all those minefields out there".

Meanwhile, for Land Rover BAR, the defeat sees them continue to struggle for form having lost to ORACLE TEAM USA and Emirates Team New Zealand on day two.

This means France, Japan and Sweden all have two points, leaving the event wide open.

Oracle is finished with the first round robin, which continues with three races Monday.

It leaves the British boat with just one win from five races at the halfway stage of the qualifying regatta, from which only four of five challenger boats will progress. After the round robins, Oracle will practice on its own while the challengers sail their semifinals and finals.


The British looked strong in beating Artemis Racing by 11 seconds.

There was much excitement in the America's Cup Village before the two teams faced off and they certainly didn't disappoint as what ensued was a race full of drama and excitement in a great advert for the America's Cup. "It's good for the mind, it's good for the maturation for the next days".

"Our boat certainly needs more work to fix but I don't think it really affected the performance today", he said in the post-race press conference.

In both of these races it seemed the boat ahead, half way through the race, had an insurmountable lead.

"The boys worked very, very hard today", Spithill said. "The guys are in great shape, so it's not really an issue in terms of the physical side for the guys".

There was also joy for Land Rover BAR, who caused somewhat of a surprise in Race 4 to claim a morale-boosting victory over the highly-fancied Artemis Racing. The American lead grew as Land Rover BAR came off its foils and buried its bows in the water just after the weather mark, a recurring problem. In a typical exciting start, Burling pushed Artemis up fractionally over the start line early, the Swedes penalised gifting the Kiwis a handy nine second lead around the first mark. Oracle got close, but Artemis played the shifts for a big win.

It all kicked off after the Brits collided with Dean Barker's boat on day one. That was one of the big questions of the day, and other teams will be poring over the footage in their post-race briefings as they recalibrate the odds.

It was the third collision for Ainslie this spring. We just shaved the three length zone, we gave them plenty of room to make the gybe.

The amount of room the right of way boat needs to be given is not defined, it is more about the ability of the gybing boat to perform the manoeuvre safely, rather than a crash gybe. There will only be six crew onboard and with Ben Ainslie at the helm the boat will fly over the surface supported by high-tech hydrofoils. "It didn't happen last night, so I'm guessing' he'll probably do it tonight".

Britain were then defeated by one minute and 28 seconds against New Zealand after their opponents recovered from a penalty for crossing the boundary.

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