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Race-by-race: Oracle create gap at the top

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Race 7: Groupama Team France beat Artemis Racing by 0:03

All the pundits have been saying the fastest boat will win, but today in race seven, it was the smarts that won.

Shifts favouring the left side made the difference and France took it to the Swedes.

Pre-start went to Groupama Team France, who led Artemis Racing through the reach and around the middle mark and heading downwind.

Then Team France lost their lead when they mis-foiled and touched a hull in a gybe. They rounded 12 seconds behind Artemis at the first leeward mark.

Going upwind, the shifts favoured the French who took the left split and worked their way into a 22-second lead at the weather mark.

Chasing downwind, Artemis had a wet gybe, burying the starboard hull.

French were ahead by 19 seconds. Artemis had a little speed on France, but shift picking was making the difference.

France made a nice foiling tack on to the next layline then a poor tack into the weather mark for the last weather mark. But, still, they led by 18 seconds.

Artemis were making a charge but had a wet gybe, too.

France were ahead by four seconds at final middle-mark turn and across the finish first to win by three seconds

Race 8: Oracle Team USA bt Land Rover BAR by 0:39

The start of this race was unusual. Both boats ended up below the leeward layline and Sir Ben Ainslie, on BAR, led back up hard on the wind to climb around the leeward end of the starting line and take the start going five knots.

BAR reached off quickly and went around the middle mark just seven seconds ahead. They kept that lead to the downwind mark, but Oracle got a nice split there at the bottom (mark 2) so they took the left side on the first tack and got the lead.

Oracle had shifts and better pressure for more speed, too, and they went around ahead by nine seconds

BAR did a full face plant on a bad gybe and Oracle led at the next mark by 34 seconds. BAR dug both bows into the Great Sound and came to almost a complete stop, cockpit full and draining from the scuppers.

Oracle extended the lead to 200 metres and the margin was 39 seconds at the gate, leaving the Americans a perfect three for three.

Race 9: Emirates Team New Zealand bt SoftBank Team Japan by 0:33

The revenge that Dean Barker was looking for failed to materialise here.

SoftBank Team Japan took the slingshot start to weather and extended the lead as they dumped bad air back on the Kiwis.

Downwind on leg two, Japan had speed. Clean gybes by both boats. Kiwis got some more pressure and closed the gap to round the mark tied with Japan.

After splitting tacks back upwind, New Zealand took the right, got more pressure on the edge of the course and almost took the lead on the first crossing. but still couldn't dig their way out from behind. Japan were ahead by 13 seconds.

New Zealand got the left-hand side going downwind and on the first crossing were about three metres behind. Then, with both boats going to the right, the Kiwi boat got a right-hand shift and more pressure.

The Kiwis were going back across the course and extended their lead to 17 seconds at gate five for a 130-metre lead. At gate six, they had 16 seconds and 33 seconds at the finish as Japan came in slow after losing speed.

Race 10: Artemis Racing bt Oracle Team USA by 0:36

Artemis Racing ended a two-race losing run to put the first loss on Oracle Team USA and remind of their pre-Qualifiers favouritism.

Nathan Outteridge, on Artemis, took a nice hook at the start to dominate and cross the line first and get to the middle mark first.

It was a tight race, to say the least. There were plenty of splits between the boats, with turns to cross back right at the boundary lines. Gains were made on shifts and variable puffs.

On leg four, Artemis were leading and putting a loose cover on Oracle, staying between them and the mark, and staying in the same wind and water. Then the Americans found pressure and Artemis had failed to keep the cover on. Oracle gained but not enough.

Artemis got the last shift at gate five and ended gaining close to 300 metres going up the next leg.

Artemis protected their lead more carefully from there to the finish and led by 41 seconds at mark six, and by 36 seconds at the finish.

Race 11: Emirates Team New Zealand bt Land Rover BAR by 1:28

Emirates Team New Zealand put the hurt on Land Rover BAR for the British side's second straight defeat.

New Zealand were in the starting box early, so they took a penalty against BAR and had to start two boat lengths behind.

Peter Burling and crew started behind and to windward, but they put speed on BAR to take the lead nevertheless and keep it in a close inside rounding at the leeward mark.

Sir Ben Ainslie had an overlap outside, but could not get an advantage in the rounding. BAR lost ground from there on. Ainslie had at least two splashdowns and one was a major hull bury and loss of control.

New Zealand finished a leg ahead of BAR after gaining time on them at every mark. A big defeat for the British.

Oracle Team USA bt SoftBank Team Japan by 0:54

Oracle led from start to finish in the final race of the day.

This was a classic match race in high-tech foiling 50s.

Oracle were ahead and to leeward at the start and never had to look back. They carried Team Japan up high above the layline to the middle mark and then bore off for speed midway out to the turn.

Oracle gybed to stay clear ahead going downwind, then tacked to cover going back up.

Team Japan never seemed to have a chance in this match against their design partners.

Oracle gained time and distance all around the course with a comfortable lead.

Artemis Racing recovered from an early defeat by underdogs Groupama Team France to end the perfect record of Oracle Team USA (Photograph by Ricardo Pinto/ACEA)
Emirates Team New Zealand recorded their second win of the Qualifiers against Japan (File photograph by Talbot Wilson)
Oracle Team USA lead Land Rover BAR before securing their third straight win to open the Louis Vuitton America's Cup Qualifiers (Photograph by Ricardo Pinto/ACEA)
Groupama Team France stunned Artemis Racing to start the second day of racing (File photograph by Talbot Wilson)

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Published May 28, 2017 at 4:00 pm (Updated May 28, 2017 at 6:46 pm)

Race-by-race: Oracle create gap at the top

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