Artemis Racing reaches America's Cup challenger finals

15 June, 2017, 01:40 | Author: Douglas Reid

The Team Sweden helmsman slid off his ACC boat and ended up in the water during the third race of today's opening round of the America's Cup challenger final.

Artemis had been down 3-1 before winning three races Thursday to reach match point.

Artemis will face Emirates Team New Zealand in the best-of-nine finals starting Saturday for the right to meet two-time defending champion Oracle Team USA in the 35th America's Cup match starting June 17.

Artemis Racing was a new syndicate four years ago but was devastated by the tragic death of British Olympic star Andrew "Bart" Simpson when its 72-foot catamaran broke apart during a training run in May 2013.

Outteridge slipped and flew off the boat as the six-man crew went through its quick, choreographed sprint to change sides while the 50-foot foiling catamaran was turning while going about 27 knots on the fifth of seven legs.

While SoftBank Team Japan is new to the America's Cup, Artemis Racing is one of the most established teams, backed financially by Tornqvist, the Swedish co-founder of oil trading giant Gunvor.

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"We're happy to have battled back into that last race and it was shaping up to be a very close top mark before Nathan went off", Burling said. The victor of each first-to-five semi-final progresses to the challenger final and whoever wins that will take on Oracle Team USA in the America's Cup Match starting on June 17.

The next races are due to take place on Sunday. At Rio last summer, Burling and Tuke won the gold medal with Outteridge and Jensen taking the silver.

Very little separated two evenly matched teams who were locked at 1-1 in the overall series when disaster struck Artemis and virtually handed the Kiwis the match. Race officials later said Artemis shouldn't have been penalized. Divers couldn't find any damage, but Barker said the team lost valuable preparation time.

"Once they got in front it was always going to be hard to claw it back", said Barker, who said he hoped the SoftBank Team would return to challenge in the next America's Cup.

Gritty Team New Zealand will give themselves a pat on the back for beating Great Britain but there won't be much celebration as they eye the bigger goals in front of them in Bermuda. "We are here to win the next series and then bring the cup home to New Zealand", Burling said, reflecting the understated nature of the Kiwi campaign from the outset of this controversial cycle of sport's oldest contest.


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