Brits retire from America's Cup trials race with damage

Kristopher Nichols
June 7, 2017

Team New Zealand, skippered by Ashby, beat Land Rover BAR in two America's Cup semi-final races when the British team was forced to retire after a part in their wing sail snapped.

And at the end of it all a terrifying "pitchpole" for New Zealand which left their boat badly damaged, their young helmsman Peter Burling under huge pressure, and Ainslie's British team with a lifeline. Meanwhile, back out on the racecourse, Artemis Racing had come to a stop as Nathan Outteridge radioed through to America's Cup Race Management [ACRM] to confirm his team's retirement from the first race.

Burling said the boat had "sustained quite a bit of damage" in the capsize, but none of the crew was badly injured.

The Kiwis had only to start the second race to pocket the point and they're happy to resume racing against the British tomorrow two up in the first-to-five series. Skipper Dean Barker took a tumble on the trampoline.

"We had two tough battles but we sailed really well and I thought the pace of the boat was great throughout the day".

There will then a break in America's Cup proceedings while other events take place until the start of the Louis Vuitton America's Cup, 13-race series with initial 4 races on June 17 and 18.

"What an incredible day of racing".

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Helmsman Peter Burling spoke at a press conference after the catastrophic capsize.

Ainslie has rallied before, both in winning Olympic gold medals and in helping Oracle Team USA come back from an 8-1 deficit against Team New Zealand in the 2013 America's Cup to win eight straight races on San Francisco Bay.

While that decision initially looked to have paid off with Sunday's light winds, the postponement to Monday and the forecast of a stiffer breeze will increase Ainslie's chances of beating Burling, based on the British team's performance so far.

The setback all but ended their challenge, with SoftBank Team Japan able to stretch their lead to one minute and 15 seconds by the gate 5 turn. There will then be another break in proceedings until the final 9 races are run from June 24 to June 27.

Ainslie's Land Rover BAR crew pulled up on the third of seven legs after the camber arm in the high-tech wing sail broke.

The New Zealand boat managed to lift on its foils for more of the course in the choppy waters, reaching speeds of more than 40 knots at times in the high winds. When it works, when you're sailing these boats fast and well, it's incredibly rewarding.

After the race, Burling confirmed that all six sailors were unharmed, bar some cuts and bruises, and that the team's shorecrew were immediately starting work to fix their damaged yacht.

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