Emirates Team New Zealand Hunt Down Artemis Racing
The most anticipated race of the 35th America’s Cup was the rematch of the previous days epic battle between Artemis Racing and Emirates Team New Zealand.
Emirates Team New Zealand started with port entry taking the action deep into the start box. But high above the pin-end layline both boats were early and had to slow the action. Then a late burst of acceleration from the two yachts saw Artemis get a slight jump off the line, and with space up to windward the Swedes rolled over the red and black boat.
Racing neck and neck, Emirates Team New Zealand showed a click more speed on the first downwind run to the bottom mark charging at Artemis Racing. But in an attempted luff when overlapped the Kiwis took a spectacular nosedive which halted their charge and left them trailing by over 20 seconds at the bottom mark. The Kiwis now with plenty of work to do to reel the Swedes in.
“We fought back into it on that first run,” said Helmsman Peter Burling.
“It was a close call with that luff, but we just had to keep going and battle back.”
Emirates Team New Zealand were clocked at over 30 knots upwind at times, but Artemis managed to tack on top of the kiwis on the right hand layline into the gate to hold the advantage. However, Burling and his crew were steadily eating into the deficit, rounding just three seconds behind at Mark 3.
Artemis made gains on the downwind,sailing deeper and rounding ahead again. But with Emirates Team New Zealand were now breathing down their necks looking to hunt them down on the final upwind.
The key moment of the race came with the final cross at the top of the course. Emirates Team New Zealand picked the perfect layline to Mark 5 and headed in with starboard right of way. Artemis, on port, attempted a cross that was marginal at best with Burling having to take sharp avoiding action.
The kiwis duly protested and Artemis were penalised. It was academic anyway as the Swedes couldn’t lay the top mark and had to make an extra tack. Meanwhile the Kiwis still managed to lay the mark and rocketed off to the finish line leaving the Swedes floundering.
“We were showing good upwind speed and we knew we were going to have a chance to have a piece of them if we could do a good tack. They kept on going to try to get the cross because they knew they needed to make that gate.” said foil trimmer Blair Tuke.
“From 100 or metres or so out it was pretty obvious they weren’t going to make it and we wanted to make that one stick so we took it close in the cross. That made it hard to control the boat, but we still managed to make it around the mark in one.”
The winning margin for Emirates Team New Zealand was 1’31”, notching up their 5th win of the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup Qualifiers.
Tomorrow Emirates Team New Zealand face Ben Ainslie Racing
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