Hamilton, Bermuda (June 12, 2017) – The drama of the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup Challenger Finals carried through a delay-plagued day to see Peter Burling’s Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL) win the first scheduled race to close out the series 5-2 against Nathan Outteridge’s Artemis Racing (SWE).
The deciding race was a do-over after the first attempt at race seven was abandoned when the 25 minute limit expired. That race got underway in 7 knots, where it was all New Zealand as they won the start after the Swedes were OCS, extending quickly until the wind dramatically dropped on the ensuing upwind leg. The Swedes closed at the upwind gate but copped another penalty, with both teams drifting downwind as the Great Sound glassed off and time ran out.
After an hour delay, the stormy skies cleared with winds returning to 7 knots for the start to get underway just minutes before the deadline. Another good start by the Kiwis saw them leverage their leeward position to an insurmountable 56 second lead at the finish. The Kiwis certainly had no peer in the low winds, easily staying on their foils through maneuvers and showing a speed edge up and downwind.
“It’s all the little things we’ve been working on,” noted Burling regarding his team’s performance. “We came here to bring the Cup home, and along the way we had to overcome a lot of adversity. The Challenger series really pushed us, and I am proud with how we responded. We’re feeling ready now to take on the Defender.”
Outteridge was graceful in defeat. “Of course it’s disappointing but hats off to New Zealand. Given the forecast, we knew they’d be tough today. We couldn’t change that but we did what could on our boat this morning. Then when they got the start to leeward, the trouble began.”
On whether his team would return, Outteridge was hopeful. “We’d love to keep going but that’s a question we now have to ask. (Team owner) Torbjörn Törnqvist hopped on the boat after the finish and
The final stage of the 35th America’s Cup will commence on June 17 with Jimmy Spithill’s Oracle Team USA lining up against the Kiwi team, a rematch of the Final in 2013 which saw the Kiwis build an 8-1 lead, only to see the Defender win 9 straight races to take the trophy.
In this edition, the winner of the 35th America’s Cup will be the first team to claim seven points. However, the caveat is how the Defender, which won the Qualifiers held on May 26-June 3, will begin the series with a one point advantage.
As the rules detail, the Challenger will carry a one point disadvantage (ie, minus 1), meaning they will need to win eight races to take the trophy whereas the Defender need only win seven races. Game on!
Challenger Final Race 7: Emirates Team New Zealand beat Artemis Racing by 56 seconds
Overall Results (Winner is first team to 5)
Emirates Team New Zealand (5) vs Artemis Racing (2)