Blow for Ainslie at America's Cup as Kiwis take control

by Steven Clarke June 7, 2017, 12:03
Blow for Ainslie at America's Cup as Kiwis take control

Emirates Team New Zealand capsized Tuesday at the start of an America's Cup challenger semifinal race against Britain on Bermuda's stormy Great Sound, throwing three crewmen into the water and extensively damaging its 50-foot catamaran.

With strong winds sweeping across the Great Sound — producing the fastest and most eventful races yet — SoftBank Team Japan got the better of the Swedish entry Artemis Racing twice to take a 3-1 lead.

That meant that Emirates Team New Zealand won both races, their second one by default as Ainslie's Land Rover BAR were unable to make the start.

Team New Zealand should be able to fix the damage from their high-impact capsize on Bermuda's Great Sound and continue their America's Cup campaign, helmsman Peter Burling says.

"All of us sitting here are not going to pass criticism - these boats are incredibly hard to sail and these things can happen - thank God most importantly everyone is fine on the boat", Ainslie said at a press conference broadcast via the official America's Cup YouTube channel.

Team New Zealand, skippered by 26-year-old Peter Burling, beat Ainslie earlier in the day and leads its best-of-9 match 3-1.

Despite the problems suffered by Team New Zealand, Ainslie was happy overall with the progress of his crew as BAR eye a recovery. "We'll bounce back from this".

The Kiwis had only to start the second race to pocket the point and they're happy to resume racing against the British tomorrow two up in the first-to-five series.

All crew members were unharmed, although the same could not be said for the boat.

Ainslie said the wing would have to be replaced, which was impossible to do quick enough to get back out for the second scheduled race against the Kiwis. Oracle Team USA prevailed and also beat Land Rover BAR in their 2nd race to finish on top of the standings.

In the other semifinal, SoftBank Team Japan and Sweden's Artemis Racing each took a comeback victory. Skipper Dean Barker took a tumble on the trampoline.

The Kiwis's mishap capped a day of carnage on the Great Sound, turning too high on their foil, as they chased BAR off the start-line.

"They're certainly not out of the America's Cup".

Artemis had to retire during the first race due to damage.

While that decision initially looked to have paid off with Sunday's light winds, the postponement to Monday and the forecast of a stiffer breeze will increase Ainslie's chances of beating Burling, based on the British team's performance so far.

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