Sunday, 25 June, 2017

'Foiling' America's Cup due to set sail Saturday in Bermuda

Strong day for Emirates Team New Zealand Strong day for Emirates Team New Zealand
Melody Ballard | 30 May, 2017, 06:47

Damage was not obvious on SoftBank Team Japan, but boatbuilders on both teams will certainly have to work through the night to get both boats ready for racing tomorrow.

Fortunately for the Brits, they were able to keep the catamaran riding on its hydrofoils throughout the race, with the hulls out of the water.

Commenting on the race against Artemis, Sir Ben said: "We had a fantastic race against Artemis Racing".

The defending champions, who will advance to the America's Cup match regardless, lead on five points from five races, having accrued a point from the World Series.

On an afternoon of light, shifty winds on the turquoise waters of Bermuda's Great Sound, Oracle won two of three races to take a two-point lead in the America's Cup qualifiers.

Groupama's hopes of building on the win over Ainslie however came unstuck in their second race, when they were thrashed by Japan's SoftBank Team Japan, skippered by former Team New Zealand ace Dean Barker.

Race officials ruled Team Sweden was in breach of the rules when they accelerated past the Kiwis as both boats exited the sixth and final gate.

Struggling Land Rover BAR has three points, followed by Artemis, SoftBank Team Japan and Groupama Team France with two points apiece. "Thankfully, the most important thing is that no one got hurt".

The US has won it 28 times, New Zealand and Switzerland twice, and Australia once, in perhaps the second greatest comeback in sport when they wrenched the cup from America for the first time in its history with a controversial winged keel, all sorts of mind games, and the backing of the colourful businessman Alan Bond.

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The port hull of GBR got quite a bit of damage from the brining handles on JPN which punctured holes in the hull of the British boat.

"We need a good result, we owe that to ourselves and to Torbjorn", Percy said.

"We were turning the boat as hard as we could and we were lucky not to end up on our side", Burling said. 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.

Emirates Team NZ skipper Peter Burling put his AC50 into the start box early and incurred a two boat-length penalty, but the Kiwis hurtled down the second leg of the course and slid around the mark ahead of the British.

It was a dramatic end to a gripping race which featured nine lead changes.

No doubt about it: that collision cost them the race, and Ainslie's reputation as being ever-so-slightly psycho on the race course just got burnished. It is Ainslie's second big collision - he hit the back of Emirates Team New Zealand during practice racing last week.

In a break from tradition, the defender, Oracle, will sail against the challengers in the two round robins. Oracle will then train on its own while the challengers sail their semifinals and finals.

Ainslie would be in real trouble if not for bringing in two bonus points earned during preliminary regattas. Groupama Team France is led by Frenchman Franck Cammas.

Their only lapse so far has come against cupholders Oracle Team USA, who suffered their first loss to Sweden today.

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