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Emirates Team NZ take the lead

The final stage of the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup Challenger Playoffs started on Saturday in light to moderate winds, but the action was red-hot.



Nathan Outteridge takes a swim in race 3 . . .

The result was a 2 - 1 lead for Emirates Team New Zealand after three action packed races.

In the first race it was advantage Outteridge at the start as he crossed the line on time, with speed, three lengths clear ahead of the Kiwi boat.

Burling narrowed the lead to just 5-seconds closed the gap down with the boats approaching the edge of the course.

Artemis Racing made an unforced error, sailing just outside the course boundary and picking up a penalty.

Burling and his Kiwi team banked the advantage and extended the rest of the way to go up 1-0, with a winning delta of 47-seconds.

In race 2 Artemis Racing’s Nathan Outteridge won the start cleanly over Emirates Team New Zealand’s Peter Burling, and was first across the starting line for the second consecutive race.

On the reach to mark one, he kept pushing the Kiwi boat to windward, away from the mark, before turning downwind and accelerating into the lead.

Once again, Burling kept it close, not splitting until the final windward gate, hoping superior boat speed would allow him through.

But Outteridge and his tactician Iain Percy relied on every trick in the match racing book to cover their opponent, staying between the New Zealanders and the next mark, often pushing disturbed air onto the Kiwi wing.

It was a hard-fought 15-second win for the Swedish challenger, to level the final of the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup Challenger Playoffs at 1-1.

Race 3 was a heart-stopper. An even start, with both boats crossing the starting line simultaneously.

Outteridge was set up slightly to windward and vulnerable to a luff, but he accelerated well off the starting line to lead into mark one by less than 3-seconds.

Trailing into the first bottom gate for the third consecutive time, Burling finally elected to split away, looking to make a gain through a favorable windshift. It nearly worked. The boats converged at the top gate with Outteridge ahead by less than one length.

With a split on the downwind leg, Artemis found a vein of wind to stretch slightly, but a bad gybe approaching the gate meant the lead was just 3-seconds. The first cross on the upwind was to Outteridge by less than two boat-lengths.

The next one was even closer and Burling had the favored right hand side for the final meeting.

But on the final tack, approaching the mark, Outteridge slid off the Artemis Racing boat as he raced to cross the platform.

Without their helmsman, Artemis surrendered the lead immediately and limped down the final run, retiring from the race after the Kiwis finished for the win and 2-1 series lead.

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Gerald New - Sailweb
10 June 2017 19:53 GMT


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