Sailing - America's Cup semi-finals becalmed as racing postponed

Hope Soto
June 9, 2017

The runners-up from 2013, Emirates Team New Zealand, are second in the standings after clinching their sixth win on Thursday.

All the good work climbing back into Oracle on the beat was undone and the Kiwis were in catch-up mode again.

Team New Zealand will open Tuesday's racing with their first race against the Great Britain team starting at 5.08am [NZ time].

Earlier on Saturday, the US crew beat Emirates Team New Zealand in the Louis Vuitton America's Cup qualifier event, guaranteeing themselves a bonus point when the racing for the cup begins on June 17 in Bermuda.

“It is something we have been trying to do for a long time, ” he said. "We really enjoy those opportunities to put ourselves under a bit more pressure and learn from it".

"This is how it is sometimes in sailing - here in Bermuda we have been spoilt for action so far, and today was just one of those days".

Emirates Team New Zealand was almost ideal in winning two races to jump to 8 points in the qualifiers, one more than Oracle.

The race committee had several attempts to get races underway, but each time they had to re-set, as the average wind speed dropped below the minimum threshold for racing of six knots.

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On the very last race of the round robin tournament on Friday, Team Emirates New Zealand achieved what they'd threatened to do earlier in the day and hit that magical mark of 100% foiling in beating Groupama Team France.

The defeat put more pressure on the race with France, who had lost to Japan by nearly six minutes in the day's opening race, but Britain crossed the finish line just ahead of their opponents to avenge Monday's defeat.

Team NZ won eight of their 10 races while the British boat managed only four wins, failing to match their lofty pre-regatta expectations.

In this photo provided by the America's Cup Event Authority, Emirates Team New Zealand and SoftBank Team Japan compete during America's Cup qualifying on the Great Sound in Bermuda on Friday, June 2, 2017.

For Oracle, preparations will now begin for their title defence, while the Kiwis — who earned the right to pick their opponents as the best challenger — will face Land Rover BAR in the semi-finals.

Spithill hailed the impact of Tom Slingsby, Oracles tactician, while taking a dig at Team New Zealands tactical set-up.

Statistics show the British team are the best off the start line, but poor boat speed and a habit of picking up unwelcome penalties has cost them heavily.

BAR beat Team Japan by 13 seconds while the Swedish syndicate crushed the already-eliminated Team France by more than two minutes.

Other reports by MaliBehiribAe

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