Oracle goes 2-1 to take lead in America's Cup qualifiers
- Author: Regina Holmes Jun 02, 2017,
Jun 02, 2017, 2:23
US are now 4-1, but have sailed an extra race and carry an extra point from their second placing in the America's Cup World Series.
"However, I'm extremely proud of the way the whole team regrouped from that defeat and fixed everything in an nearly ideal race against ORACLE TEAM USA".
It was just the first day of the most famous sailing event on the planet, but it might just be the most dramatic, with the British Team Ben Ainslie Racing's boat nearly crushing Team Japan's sailors during a sickening collision.
Britain's Land Rover BAR got its foiling 50-foot catamaran patched up overnight after a frightening collision with SoftBank Team Japan on Saturday.
Crews will continue competing in qualifiers over the next two weeks for the right to challenge Team USA for the title in the America's Cup match starting June 17.
Spithill is determined to get that point, even if the team, owned by software billionaire Larry Ellison, isn't always flawless.
Emirates Team New Zealand beat Japan by 33 seconds and Britain by 1:28.
Emirates Team NZ skipper Peter Burling put his AC50 into the start box early and incurred a two boat-length penalty, but the Kiwis hurtled down the second leg of the course and slid around the mark ahead of the British.
"Our boat certainly needs more work to fix but I don't think it really affected the performance today", Ainslie said. "It was really about trying to avoid all those minefields out there".
Ben Ainslie's Land Rover BAR suffered a shock defeat at the hands of an increasingly confident Groupama Team France on Monday in the America's Cup qualifiers in Bermuda.
And, in all probability, they need two more wins, thanks to the two point bonus from winning last year's World Series, a victory which could be incredibly important as this week goes on.
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Oracle is finished with the first round robin, which continues with three races Monday.
One challenger will be eliminated after the second round robin, which wraps up Saturday. Oracle will then train on its own while the challengers sail their semifinals and finals.
The variable winds over the Great Sound racecourse came to the fore in race 10, as Artemis Racing prevailed in a topsy-turvy battle against ORACLE TEAM USA.
"Today showed just how hard racing can be out there", said Artemis Racing helmsman Nathan Outteridge. Its good for the mind, its good for the maturation for the next days.. They swapped out two of the workhorse grinders per race.
"Hats off to the Artemis boys for a great race", Burling said.
In Land Rover BAR's battle with Groupama, Ainslie also dominated the start and looked to have built a commanding lead.
Outteridge, an Olympic gold medallist, got the best of Spithill at the start of their race. Oracle got close, but Artemis played the shifts for a big win.
The last match of the day between Oracle and SoftBank Team Japan was the only one where the pre-start victor stayed in front the entire time.
After taking responsibility last week's collision with Team New Zealand, Ainslie has been criticised for reckless sailing.
Slater said that as the boats were approaching the gate mark, "our job is to be certain that Artemis Racing were keeping clear, and we weren't at that time certain they were keeping clear". Its just a shame we couldnt repay that work with some wins today, he said.
The shore crew are looking forward to when Bens going to bring some beers down, Barker said.