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America's Cup challenger final series: Team New Zealand v Artemis

14 Juin 2017

Team New Zealand has snatched the lead in it's America's Cup challenger final duel, after Artemis' helmsman fell overboard in the third and final race.

Oracle Team USA hired former open water Olympic swimmer and iron man Ky Hurst to fill one of its "grinder" positions, while Artemis Racing has Anders Gustafsson, who competed in four games in the canoe sprint.

Artemis had been almost ideal in Race 2, leading wire-to-wire and staying on its hydrofoils the whole way.

The British outfit already faced a battle against the odds, starting yesterday's racing 3-1 down and, after two defeats in the day's three head-to-heads, it ended Ainslie's campaign this time.

The victor of the first-to-five series will go on to challenge America's Cup holder Oracle Team USA next week.

Burling said such mishaps were "part of it", adding: "I felt like even if he (Outteridge) didn't fall off we would have got that gate (course marker) off him".

Two days after a frightening capsize that threatened their challenge, New Zealand won two out of three races on Thursday to reach the challenger final and extinguish four-time Olympic champion Ainslie's hopes of bringing the coveted Cup to Britain.

Ainslie then sailed his best race of the regatta, winning by 20 seconds to stay alive.

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In the first race, Artemis had the lead but Outteridge crossed the boundary for an unforced error and had to slow to two boat lengths behind the Kiwis.

Outteridge's tumble was the latest mayhem in the challenger series.

Ben Ainslie, Land Rover BAR Skipper and Team Principal, said: Ben Ainslie, Skipper and Team Principal: "We are constantly developing".

Turning his attention to the potential opponent in the Louis Vuitton America's Cup Challenger Playoffs Final, Burling admitted he does not have a preference between Artemis Racing or SoftBank Team Japan.

"We're absolutely stoked to be moving on after being down 3-1", Outteridge, an Australian, said shortly after steering his 50-foot foiling catamaran to a 13-second victory.

He said: "I was really proud of the way the team sailed both today and with our approach to this whole series".

Team New Zealand had just pulled ahead of Artemis when Outteridge took a swim.

"Our guys have been working super hard", Burling said. "We thought we were going to have a piece at the top". "If we can keep pushing the boat to its limit there's going to be some incredible racing".