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Artemis on top in Toulon

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Artemis Racing became the second team to secure three regatta victories at the Louis Vuitton America's Cup World Series Toulon yesterday.

The Swedish challenger were the most consistent in the light-air conditions, finishing five-points clear of second-placed SoftBank Team Japan, whose impressive fightback fell just short of glory.

Land Rover BAR, the only other team with three regatta wins, placed third to extend their lead in the overall world series standings to 14 points over nearest rivals Oracle Team USA, the America's Cup defender.

With skipper Nathan Outteridge at the helm, and tactician and sailing team manager Iain Percy calling the shots, Artemis posted a first, third and fifth which was good enough to secure a second regatta victory this year having also triumphed at the World Series Chicago in June.

“Very happy indeed!” an elated Outteridge said. “To come away with a win in Toulon in what were very light, difficult conditions is good.

“Our boat handling skills in light winds were a bit of a weakness and we've been preparing for a while now for dealing with exactly these sorts of conditions so when you've put that much time and effort into preparing for a certain wind range, you kind of want it, and that's what we got this weekend.

“A lot of teams were disappointed with the weather, but we were excited as it gave us a chance to put into practice what we've been working on, so to win as we did is just great.”

Outteridge and his team-mates dominated the opening day of racing on Saturday, reeling off two firsts and a third in light winds.

“We had a very good day on Saturday but to back it up with another strong performance on Sunday is obviously very pleasing,” said Outteridge, who won the silver medal with Artemis team-mate Iain Jensen in the 49er class at last month's Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.

“We're very happy with the decision-making in the races between Perc [Iain Percy] and myself and we couldn't be happier with how we're sailing the boat right now.

“I think we've made some big strides in how we sail the boat and how we deal with the racecourses and the race format.”

Team Japan also thrived in the light-air conditions, going from last to second.

“We're really happy with how this weekend has ended,” Dean Barker, the team skipper, said. “To be on the podium is very pleasing, and that's obviously the goal, to keep improving.

“These events are the chance we have to measure the performance of the team, to see where we're performing and improving as a group.”

Land Rover BAR were also on the move with the points doubling on “Super Sunday”, climbing from fifth to third to rebound from a poor start to the regatta.

The British challenger started the final day of racing tied with Oracle in the world series standings but managed to distance themselves away from the America's Cup defender.

“All credit to the team, it was a big improvement on yesterday and it needed to be for those double points on the Sunday,” said Sir Ben Ainslie, the team principal and skipper. “It was a good day for racing, a better breeze than yesterday.

“We would have liked to have got closer to winning — I think Artemis sailed really well — but to increase our lead in the world series going into the final event in Japan in November is a big deal for our team.”

Regatta hosts, Groupama Team France, finished fourth in front of their own fans.

“It was amazing this weekend,” Franck Cammas, the team skipper, said. “To find out that many people wanted to come and support us was something special and we will use that as extra motivation to keep pushing everyone in Groupama Team France.”

The sixth and final world series event for this year will be held in Fukuoka, Japan, from November 18 to 20.

Photograph by Claude Paris/AP Basking in the Mediterranean sun: Artemis Racing were the most consistent in the lighter winds at the world series in Toulon

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Published September 12, 2016 at 9:00 am (Updated September 12, 2016 at 11:27 am)

Artemis on top in Toulon

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