June 24, 2017

Oracle beats Kiwis in Bermuda for America's Cup bonus point

04 June 2017, 06:31 | Simon Arnold

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Loading Team New Zealand fans cheer on support in Bermuda

Emirates Team New Zealand kept up the pressure on defending America's Cup champions Oracle Team USA on Friday, beating SoftBank Team Japan and drawing level on points with the US team who were convincingly beaten by Sweden's Artemis Racing.

The pressure looked to have told on Emirates Team New Zealand on leg five of seven as they were handed another penalty, this time for sailing out of the racecourse boundary, resulting in another penalty.

Team New Zealand will nominate their semifinal opponent during today's post-race press conference.

Emirates Team New Zealand, the hard-luck loser in the 2013 America's Cup, has 8 points, one more than two-time defending champion Oracle Team USA.

Team NZ will take on the British Ben Ainslie Racing syndicate in this week's Louis Vuitton America's Cup challenger playoffs.

"This is one of those full-team decisions for them to make and the losers go home, so I wouldn't roll the dice on that one", he said.

As such, they will take a bonus point with them into the best-of-13 Cup Match, effectively the regatta final, later in the month.

The opening two races on both side of the semifinal draw will be sailed on Monday (NZ time).

Sweden have defeated America's Cup holders U.S. and close allies Team Japan twice each - including once each yesterday - showing they are more than capable of toppling the best.

It's back to the drawing board for Team New Zealand.

Later Saturday, Oracle faced Land Rover BAR in the final race of round robin two.

Sebastian Bourdais Out For Season After Crash In Qualifying
Bourdais may have tried to catch the vehicle , but as the back end jumped back to the let, the rear wheels got hooked up again. Bourdais went 231.534, the fastest lap of the day Saturday, before crashing and end his run for the pole on Sunday.

"We just won a race in the Cup, boys".

Nearing the top of the starting line Jimmy Spithill, to leeward with rights, tried to squeeze Burling above the upper mark, but Burling held his course and thus failed to keep clear.

Oracle will sail against Land Rover BAR in the fourth and final race Saturday.

Today's Team NZ v Oracle Team USA showdown is occupying nearly everyone's attention at the America's Cup challenger series in Bermuda, but another burning question remains: who will (or should) the Kiwis choose as opponents in the playoffs, starting tomorrow?

Peter Burling, the Team Zealand helmsman, made several uncharacteristic errors to hand Oracle the win.

Oracle started that series down two points after being penalized for the biggest cheating scandal in America's Cup history.

Despite the defeat to Oracle, it was an encouraging day for Ben Ainslie's British outfit, who beat Japan in their other race of the day.

By gate 5 Oracle Team USA's lead was 25 seconds and in the final stages of the race they managed to increase that advantage slightly, ultimately crossing the finish line 36 seconds ahead of Land Rover BAR.

But the Japanese team chased them round Bermuda's Great Sound and were penalised after a close call between them.

Artemis also led wire-to-wire in their 18 second victory over Team Japan.

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