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Battle resumes after windswept Wednesday

All eyes will be on Emirates Team New Zealand to see how they have recovered from the drama of Tuesday (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)

Déjà vu, all over again. Welcome to smoother sailing, two days after “destruction derby day”.

It’s sailing Day-10 of the 35th America’s Cup, presented by Louis Vuitton. Hopefully, the day off yesterday gave teams the time needed to bring their boats back to 100 per cent performance levels.

This is the third day of the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup Challenger Play-off Semi-finals. Three races will be scheduled in each of two brackets in this best-of-nine knockout round. It could be last we see of two of the challengers.

Emirates Team New Zealand lead Land Rover BAR by 3-1, and SoftBank Team Japan have an identical advantage over Artemis Racing. The first teams in each bracket to score five points move into the play-off finals. The other two join Groupama Team France on the sidelines.


The breeze is expected to settle to 12-18 knots from the southwest accompanied by a 50/50 chance for scattered showers in the afternoon. The America’s Cup should get back to good racing; more than survival.

The races will alternate between Artemis Racing v Softbank Team Japan matches and Emirates Team New Zealand v Land Rover BAR. The teams will also alternate their side of entry, with Softbank Team Japan and Land Rover BAR choosing a port-tack entry for their first starts of the day.

Tuesday review

After review of video footage of the capsize of Emirates Team New Zealand at the start of that second race yesterday, it appears that the Kiwi boat’s port daggerboard/foil and rudder hitting the wake of Land Rover BAR and losing its grip in the water was a contributing cause of the incident. The moment the New Zealand yacht entered the wake zone, the back end of their boat popped up and the nose dug in. And as Glenn Ashby said: “We went down the mine.”

New Zealand had suffered wing failure shortly after entering the Great Sound for their first race of the day. They nursed the broken boat back to their base, hauled the boat, pulled the broken wing and installed a spare and were back out in 40 minutes, still putting bits and pieces together and setting up systems as they started just on time.

The New Zealand team started just behind BAR, but stuck to then and midway through the race got a chance to pass and took it. They were fast and happy with the boat and its heavy-air performance.

Moments after the Land Rover BAR and Emirates Team New Zealand’s second start, Land Rover BAR cleanly executed a bear-away and began flying. The Kiwis began to follow suit just like they did in the earlier race, but Peter Burling and team launched high on their foils, hit BAR’s wake zone only to have the rudder loose its grip and pop out.

The bows immediately dived into the waves. Their speed went from went from 25 knots to zero, and within a split second the mast slammed forward and the cat’s hulls pitch-poled into the water. Everyone on board was fine — along with three crew in the water — except for a few cuts and bruises.

The Kiwi shore crew worked through the night to repair the damage to the platform and fairings, and put one wing together out of the pieces from the broken two.

The second day of the playoffs had delivered plenty of breathtaking moments in the three earlier matches as well. Pieces of boats were flying every which way, as fairings were torn off by wind and wave. Chase boats followed to pick up the pieces.

Land Rover BAR skipper Sir Ben Ainslie called it “certainly the most exciting and exhilarating racing I’ve ever been involved in”.

Despite the best efforts of the helmsmen to sail conservatively, they all admitted to tense moments with near-capsizes, getting out of sorts, and boat pieces flying off like a rocket ship leaving orbit.

SoftBank Team Japan sailed consistently to earn two wins over Artemis Racing, who struggled much of the day with breakages and boat-control challenges that led to additional penalties. Land Rover BAR, meanwhile, put a welcome point on the board against Emirates Team New Zealand.


Defender Access Period (11am-1pm)

SF1, Race 5: Emirates Team New Zealand v Land Rover BAR (2.08pm)

SF2, Race 5: Artemis Racing v SoftBank Team Japan (2.37pm)

SF1, Race 6: Land Rover BAR v Emirates Team New Zealand (3.06pm)

SF2, Race 6: SoftBank Team Japan v Artemis Racing (3.35pm)

SF1, Race 7*: Land Rover BAR v Emirates Team New Zealand (4.05pm)

SF1, Race 7*: SoftBank Team Japan v Artemis Racing (4.35pm)

* if necessary

For today’s media briefing report, click on the PDF under “Related Media”