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Kiwis pip Sweden in America's Cup rematch

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 30/05/2017

Team New Zealand have beaten Australian skipper Nathan Outteridge's Swedish team Artemis Racing for the second time in two days.

But his countryman James Spithill, skipper of defending champions Team USA, continued to stamp his authority on the prestigious regatta.

Artemis lost Monday's qualifier race after being incorrectly penalised by race officials in Bermuda.

In Tuesday's encounter, Artemis had the better start and led for much of the race after a dramatic nosedive plunged the New Zealand crew into the water.

But Outteridge's team then fell behind with a tactical error.

Their pursuit was cruelled when they were handed a late penalty for a port-starboard infraction, allowing the Kiwis to sail to an easy win.

In their second race for the day, Artemis lost to Britain's Land Rover BAR by 30 seconds.

The losses leave the Swedes with two wins from seven races and behind Team NZ and Land Rover BAR in the race for the right to challenge USA in the final.

"It's pretty obvious we're quite disappointed with how the racing's been going so far," Outteridge said on Tuesday.

"But it has been really close. (Against New Zealand) we just misjudged that top-mark approach which let them through.

"And not a good start against (BAR) which put us out of the race."

The win gave New Zealand their fifth victory to solidify their spot as the no.1 challenger.

Spithill's USA recorded a comfortable victory over Team France having built a lead in the early stages of the race.

But they were forced to overcome a maintenance issue when Australian team tactician Tom Slingsby reported over the team radio, "we have an issue".

It led to running repairs being made to the boat's wing sail.

"At that point we had a pretty big lead, so we were able to somewhat take the foot off the gas a bit and nurse the boat through to the end," Spithill said.

Each of the six teams races the other 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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