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America's Cup

Explosive finish to first AC Round Robin series

Ben Ainslie may put a brave face on it but it was another splash-down error that lost Land Rover BAR the match against Groupama Team France.

After a flying start by Ainsle hitting 40 knots to take a 10 second lead at mark 1, it was a tight race until mark 3 where Land Rover BAR stalled in the turn.

Franck Cammas on Groupama seized the moment and held the lead at mark 4, where BAR again did a poor tack, with Groupama building a 270 m lead. They crossed the line 52 seconds ahead of Land Rover BAR.

On races won this places BAR bottom, but their two points from the World Series puts them in third of the six teams. In Round Robin 2 they will have to do better if they are to survive the cut.

Race 2 was was the best match of the event so far. Artemis pulled a penalty on the start line which let Emirates Team New Zealand lead at mark 1.

By gate 3 they were equal and took opposite buoys. Artemis sailed faster, but a poor tack dropped them behind ETNZ. Even at gate 4, ETNZ went left and Artemis right.

At the first cross Artemis had to dip ETNZ. Next cross Artemis forced ETNZ to dip. Finally at third cross Artemis dipped ETNZ then tacked.

Click image for a larger image

At gate 5 it was even again and at the gybe Artemis led by 40 m.

At final gate 6 ETNZ appeared to bottle their gybe inside of Artemis who were rounding wide, but called a protest anyway as Artemis swept past them to head for certain victory.

The official umpire gave the protest for P & S and Artemis could do nothing but let ETNZ claim the win.

A very unsatisfactory finish to a great race, which Burling could hardly disguise his suprise at when asked about it directly after the finish.

Burling explains his version of the incident at the Helms PC

Following that was the final mach of the Round Robin seies 1, Groupama Team France versus SoftBank Team Japan.

Dean Barker was in a take-no-prisoners mode from the get-go, storming off the line ten knots quicker than the French.

This lead never changed and they sailed an almost faultless race to finish two minutes and 34 seconds ahead.

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