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Kiwis pip Sweden in America's Cup rematch

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 30/05/2017

Team New Zealand have claimed a second dramatic win over Sweden at the America's Cup qualifiers - but this time thanks to a significantly less controversial penalty call.

The Swedes timed their start well in Bermuda on day four of the regatta, with a late burst of acceleration giving them the jump off the line.

While the Kiwis showed a click more speed on the first downwind run, an attempted luff when overlapped meant they took a spectacular nosedive which left them trailing by over 20 seconds at the bottom mark.

Team New Zealand ate away steadily at the deficit on the upwind beats, then picked the perfect layline to the fifth mark to head in with starboard right of way.

On port, the Swedes attempted a cross that was marginal at best, and New Zealand helmsman Peter Burling had to take sharp avoiding action.

The Kiwis duly protested, and Sweden were penalised, Burling's men going on to finish one minute and 31 seconds ahead.

The Kiwi helmsman afterwards paid tribute to his hard-working crew.

"The boys sailed an absolutely fantastic race," Burling said.

"We did a whole heap of manoeuvres in that one and scrambled our way out a fair few times. The boys dug really deep to give us enough power to keep charging."

Burling said it was "incredibly pleasing" to come away with the win.

"We fought back into it on that first run - it was a close call with that luff, but we just had to keep going and battle back."

The Swedes had Monday's head-to-head "match race" against New Zealand in the bag before they were penalised by the race umpire at the final mark and had to watch New Zealand sail past them.

The America's Cup umpires later made the unusual move of admitting they had made a mistake, but it was too late to change the result.

Winds of up to 16 knots in Bermuda's Great Sound made for another great race between the blue-and-yellow ,15-metre foiling catamaran of Team Sweden and the black, red and white New Zealand boat, which reached speeds of up to 40 knots.

The win is the Kiwis' fifth in their revolutionary catamaran, which features four cycling pedestals to give the sailors the power they need for hydraulics, which control the boat's foils and wing sail.

Each of the six teams races the others twice in the head-to-head match race format, with a point for the winner.

The challenger with the fewest points at the end of the qualifiers will not go through to the next semi-final round.

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