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Sailing-New Zealand set up America's Cup US rematch with Sweden win

Sailing-New Zealand set up America's Cup US rematch with Sweden win”

Whichever team wins the challenger series gets to take on America's Cup holders Oracle Team USA, starting next weekend.

With unflappable 26-year-old Peter Burling at the helm, the Kiwis finally won a start against Artemis skipper Nathan Outteridge. "Certainly the racing is going to be very close with wins going either way and whoever sails best of those days will take the races which is pretty exciting I think".

Sweden, trailing 2-1 after Saturday, thrived in the heavy winds of the first race to knot the series at 2-2, despite plummeting off their foils on a poor tack in the fifth leg.

Only the U.S., Australia, New Zealand and Switzerland have won the trophy known as the "Auld Mug" since the schooner "America" first claimed it in British waters in 1851.

“Hats off to Team New Zealand, theyve sailed a good event and weve had some really good battles with them.”.

The America's Cup organisers tweeted images of Team NZ's celebrations.

While New Zealand's current crew may bear no scars from the ordeal of San Francisco, they do go into the first-to-seven final at a slight disadvantage.

But New Zealand, looking stronger as the winds subsided, seized the lead on the third leg and were sailing towards victory when trouble with the control system brought the Swedes' race to a premature end.

"We can be really proud of the way we raced".

In freshening breeze a few hours later, the Kiwis dominated.

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Nathan Outteridge, the Artemis helmsman, was disappointed to bow out of the regatta, but exemplified great sportsmanship in defeat.

Their focus has to shift immediately to trying to atone for the mind-blowing loss in 2013.

“Weve kept making the boat go faster while fixing things that were broken, and that showed today with how much quicker we were going. In late 2015, skipper Franck Cammas of Groupama Team France fell overboard during a training session and one of the rudders almost cut off his right foot. Artemis trailed SoftBank Team Japan 3-1 in semifinals before winning four straight to advance.

It's a bittersweet departure for Artemis.

Percy, 41, won Finn class gold in Sydney in 2000 then Star class gold with Andrew "Bart" Simpson in Beijing in 2008 and a silver at London 2012.

Percy said the sailors were "hugely disappointed". "We'd love to keep going but that's a question we now have to ask".

"I think it's the passion to be aggressive in design and innovation", he said. "So we do take pride from that".

Sailing Anarchy senior editor Alan Block spoke to Larry Williams about where the next America's Cup might be held if Oracle wins again or where we might have it here if Emirates Team New Zealand wins.

Team New Zealand started the day with a comfortable two-point advantage and sealed the deal with as many matches to spare. For Emirates Team New Zealand, who have been involved in the America's Cup for such a long period of time, to have that happen would have been a real tragedy.



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