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America's Cup

Land Rover BAR struggle in final practice session

Land Rover BAR struggled on Monday, the first day of action in the final round of practice racing

The British team lost out in races with Oracle Team USA and SoftBank Team Japan, despite having the better starts, but lack of straight-line speed proved their downfall.

In the first practice race, Oracle Team USA quickly found their rhythm and were clearly ahead by the second windward mark.

They then widened their advantage to cross the finish line over a minute ahead of Land Rover BAR.

Note: No sign of the cycling station on Oracle yet.

In the second race with Softbank Team Japan, the British boat again made a strong start but their lack of straight-line speed proved their downfall.

Softbank Team Japan, skippered by Dean Barker, gained a clear lead that they did not relinquish, finishing with a convincing victory.

Four of the six America’s Cup teams were back in practice race action on Monday 15 May on the first day of the final week of practice racing before the 35th America’s Cup in Bermuda starts on 26 May.

The results proved promising for Oracle Team USA.

After the races against Land Rover BAR, the two victors of races one and two then faced off in race three in what would prove to be the closest contest of the afternoon.

Oracle Team USA and SoftBank Team Japan made even starts before the American sailed clear ahead after the windward mark.

It was a lead they did not give up, pressing home their advantage in the closing stages to finish clear of their Japanese rivals and remaining unbeaten for the day with back-to-back victories.

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SoftBank Team Japan then returned to the race course to seal a somewhat routine second victory against a struggling Groupama Team France.

Meanwhile, Emirates Team New Zealand confirmed that they successfully replaced the rudder they broke, and they made it back out onto the Great Sound to continue their own practice program late on in the afternoon.

Artemis Racing did not participate in the practice races whilst a number of upgrades are completed, but were out on the water on board Magic Blue later.

Tom Slingsby, Oracle Team USA tactician and sailing team manager, commented after an 8 hour day on the water:

"It was a long day out there for us, but we wanted to make the most of it."

"We did a couple of races, got a couple of wins and then we did some tuning and tried some different tests. We got a lot of answers we needed."

"We know how much we've stepped up our game from the last race period and we see that everyone else has made a similar step. The rate of improvement is skyrocketing in this last month."

"Everyone is putting on all their race kit, the maneuvers are getting better and so the differences between the teams are getting smaller."

SoftBank Team Japan Tactician and Sailing Team Director, Chris Draper:

"We're really pleased with how it went today. We've not had a huge amount of days in the past 7-8 days and there's been some massive modifications to the boat."

"Big credit to our shore team that we went as well on the water as we did today. We only had 20 minutes of warm-up before the first race and it went well."

Practice Results from Monday 15 May
Port - - - Stbd - - - - Winner

Race 1 GBR - USA - - USA

Race 2 JPN - GBR - - JPN

Race 3 USA - JPN - - USA

Race 4 JPN - FRA - - JPN

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