US beats Kiwis on opening day of America's Cup qualifiers

May 30, 2017, 05:37

Day two of the Louis Vuitton America's Cup Qualifiers fell on America's Cup Endeavour Day, a celebration of the America's Cup Endeavour Program, the America's Cup's youth education and sailing initiative.

The two other races on day three featured Team France.

After performing poorly in the early races, Groupama has picked up form and this morning blitzed Sir Ben Ainslie's Great Britain team.

Crewmen on SoftBank Team Japan had to leap clear of Ainslie's port hull as it smashed onto their starboard hull. This series is going to be aggressive and brutal.

The America's Cup returned this weekend with Ben Ainslie's Land Rover BAR team continuing their quest to become the first British crew to win the famous trophy.

But this smash was much more unsafe.

Land Rover BAR bailing out to keep R1 afloat. When we got back here and went down on the hull, very quickly it began filling with water.

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Emirates Team New Zealand extended all of the way around the race course eventually crossing the finish line 2 minutes 33 seconds over the French team.

That penalty effectively put paid to the Brits' chances of a win, proving to be a deficit Land Rover BAR were unable to overturn.

It was the third collision for Ainslie this spring. Could be, as some observers immediately noted, and Land Rover BAR's Martin Whitmarsh later confirmed.

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

It was a costly mistake that Land Rover BAR failed to recover from and the American team built up a 32 second lead by Gate 5 before heading home to cross the line 39 seconds ahead of their British rivals.

They must now race all opponents again, starting with Sweden's Artemis on Tuesday.

With the holders participating in the round-robin qualifiers against their would-be challengers for the first time, Team USA could gain a bonus point to take into next month's finals if they top the standings.

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But, despite nearly touching, no penalty was given and ORACLE TEAM USA came out of the encounter with a seven second lead as they raced for home. A substantial collision occurred 20 seconds prior to the start. In fact, it had it all: protest flags, lead changes, tactical manoeuvres: everything you could wish for from these flying machines. Oracle got close, but Artemis played the shifts for a big win. The lead Dean Barker had carved out was lost in an upwind leg in which the two matched each other tack for tack.

Team New Zealand believe Artemis' latest race in the America's Cup qualifiers, is the true indicator of their talents.

Their only lapse so far has come against cupholders Oracle Team USA, who suffered their first loss to Sweden today. Then light winds on Monday.

Oracle Team USA has adopted a similar idea by using a single fixed cycle at the back of their boat to help the "grinders" working the more traditional winches to generate the power which is needed to control the foils and the towering "wing" sail which drives their sleek black and red craft.

Teams must make their choice on each race day several hours beforehand, and can not change during the day. But skipper Ben Ainslie and crew gave up the lead in their two races and were beaten handily by Oracle and Emirates Team New Zealand. Their bike grinder configuration looked unusual but surprisingly natural, and there was no sign of the crew being in any way disadvantaged during manoeuvres.

What else did we learn today?

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