Kiwis win thriller on Swede penalty in America's Cup trials

Henrietta Brewer
May 30, 2017

A few hours later, the chief umpire released a statement saying the officials blew the call.

Emirates Team New Zealand lined up against Sweden's Artemis Racing in the most dramatic race of the first Louis Vuitton America's Cup Qualifiers.

Turns out their protestations were spot on.

Once a call is made, it can't be changed.

“Its just a shame we couldnt repay that work with some wins today, ” he said.

There were stunned looks on the crewmembers' faces after the finish.

Slater says at the time of the protest, ACRM officials weren't certain that Sweden, on port, had given enough space for New Zealand's boat, coming from starboard.

Emirates Team New Zealand skipper Peter Burling said the Kiwis were looking to set up a port-starboard at the mark, but didn't expect it to be so close.

Burling said Team NZ were "pretty lucky" to keep their boat upright in the daring last-minute move that earned them a penalty. This was a race for helmsmen with nerves of steel, both teams executing multiple high speed crosses, the boats at times within just metres of each other at closing speeds of over 40 knots. "You get yourself into a tight situation and you've got to dig yourself out of it".

With the pressure on Dean Barker and SoftBank Team Japan, having only won one race before the final day of Round Robin 1, the Japanese team clinched a welcome win in the final race of the day (race 15) comfortably beating the in-form Groupama Team France.

Artemis skipper Nathan Outteridge, also an Aussie, got the best of Spithill at the start of their race.

From that point on it was a battle for the ages, featuring nine lead changes around the course with both teams scrapping for every inch.

Well ahead on the final leg, Sweden's boat then had to serve a penalty and follow the New Zealanders across the finish line.

But the French team kept their cool and delivered the speed and stability that was notably absent from their first races, allowing them to build on their advantage.

Groupama Team France stunned Artemis for its first victory.

One challenger will be eliminated after the second round robin, which wraps up Saturday. BAR entered with two bonus points from preliminary regattas, while Oracle entered with one bonus point.

Another key match up is Artemis against LandRover Team BAR in the third race of the day.

Artemis has rallied from a devastating blow in 2013 when Percy's Olympic partner Andrew "Bart" Simpson died in a sailing accident in San Francisco before the last America's Cup.

Besides being top challengers, the Artemis and Team New Zealand sailors are familiar with one another. At Rio last summer, Burling and Tuke won the gold, with Outteridge and Jensen taking the silver.

The Swedes are 2-3, alongside Team Japan and Team France, while Britain's BAR are 1-4.

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