Kiwis reach match point in America's Cup challenger finals

The decisive day got off to an anti-climactic start when the first race was abandoned as the winds dropped and neither boat could make it to the finish line of the shortened course within the 25-minute limit.

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With three races scheduled for tomorrow, the Kiwis could possibly blitz Artemis to take out the Louis Vuitton Challenger Series 5-1, earning them the right to finally put Jimmy Spithill and Oracle Team USA in their place.

How does it all work?

Emirates Team New Zealand are one victory away from an America's Cup rematch with Oracle Team USA after two victories against Sweden in the challenger playoff final on Sunday.

The victor will meet two-time defending champion Oracle Team USA in the 35th America's Cup match starting June 17.


Ashby said they wouldn't lack for motivation in trying to be just the second New Zealand team to win a challenge for the Cup after the 1995 heroics in San Diego.

Owned by Swedish billionaire Torbjorn Tornqvist and led by Olympic gold medalists Outteridge and Iain Percy of Britain, Artemis won the series 5-3 to move into the best-of-nine challenger finals against Emirates Team New Zealand starting Saturday.

New Zealand appeared to have the race in hand before a miscue at the final gate saw the boat slow dramatically as it came off its foils, allowing Sweden to close rapidly.

The qualifiers start today on the Great Sound, with Bermuda in pool B along with NZL Sailing team, Land Rover BAR Academy, Spanish Impulse team, Next Generation USA and Austria's Candidate Sailing team.

With unflappable 26-year-old Peter Burling at the helm, the Kiwis finally won a start against Artemis skipper Nathan Outteridge.

Artemis Racing of Sweden is the comeback syndicate of the 35th America's Cup so far.


"I feel we can bring it home to New Zealand", Burling said. "We didn't need much on our side last time to be successful and I think we're in that same position now, where we don't need a lot to go our way to definitely be in the hunt". "It's going to be a really good race the next couple of days".

Burling says they have a reasonable idea of what their rivals have up their sleeve this week, and says that having already seen Oracle's wings and spars, they know what they'll come up against.

Neck-and-neck: New Zealand, left, competes against Sweden's Artemis Racing.

The New Zealanders dominated the race, winning by 56 seconds.

He said should New Zealand win in Bermuda, a bid to host the next Americas Cup is not out of reach.

Artemis skipper Nathan Outteridge aggressively sailed into the lead on the third leg Friday en route to a fourth straight victory over SoftBank Team Japan on Bermuda's Great Sound to clinch a spot in the challenger finals.


"We're obviously pretty excited", Burling said. But Tuke doesn't think that means Oracle have a faster boat, telling the Radio Sport Breakfast that Team New Zealand were probably quicker but just made costly errors in both defeats.


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