Sailing-Oracle Team USA get America's Cup headstart with New Zealand win

Sailing-Oracle Team USA get America's Cup headstart with New Zealand win

Oracle Team USA ensured they will start their defence of the America's Cup with an extra point by beating Emirates Team New Zealand to win the qualifier event on Saturday.

Emirates Team New Zealand, Land Rover BAR, Artemis Racing and SoftBank Team Japan all secured their progression through to the Louis Vuitton America's Cup Challenger Playoffs, while Groupama Team France bow out of the 35th America's Cup with their heads held high.

New Zealand's victories over Softbank Team Japan and France saw them surpass holders Oracle Team USA atop the standings with eight points.

Getting an America's Cup boat on the water, let alone competing with Oracle Team USA and Artemis Racing which are both backed by billionaires, costs tens of millions of dollars.

With 26-year-old Peter Burling calmly steering the 50-foot catamaran, the Kiwis became the first crew to sail around the seven-leg course entirely on hydrofoils, with the hulls never touching the water until just after the finish line.

That helped kill the drama in a rematch of the teams that met in the epic 2013 America's Cup match. That came in a 4:06 whitewashing of Groupama Team France, which was eliminated with one race to sail.

The American-backed crew, which includes Australians Spithill and Slingsby, will now train on its own while the challengers sail their semifinals, which start Sunday, and finals.

Coupled with two wins in these round robins, Oracle has won 10 straight races against Team New Zealand.

More news: Org Declared Gujarat Board SSC Class 10 Results at 8 AM Today

The challengers are ranked Team NZ, BAR, Sweden and Japan on the points table, but the British team's second-place ranking comes courtesy of the two bonus points they carried into the competition for winning the America's Cup World Series.

Spithill turned the tides with his superior tactics however, forcing Team New Zealand into a penalty to put them behind early.

“It is going to be a close race, but to win the Americas Cup you have to beat all the teams, ” said Ainslie, whose team finished third in the qualifiers. The Kiwis reached match point at 8-1 and were way ahead in what would have been the clinching race, but it was abandoned after the time limit expired on a fluky day on San Francisco Bay.

"Team NZ have beaten BAR twice already this week, including the walkover on Friday (NZT), when the Kiwis nearly lapped their rivals, who withdrew with two legs remaining".

Artemis, looking good in breezy conditions, also beat SoftBank Team Japan by 18 seconds.

The Kiwi boat was able to mow down Oracle's early lead by halfway down the third-leg, but Burling was out-thought by Spithill for a second time just before the fourth mark, when New Zealand tacked underneath the U.S. boat when crossing would have seen them take the lead.

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

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