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Makeshift Team NZ fourth in Portsmouth

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 24/07/2016

Team New Zealand have been bumped from the top of the America's Cup world series leaderboard after finishing fourth in the seventh round at Portsmouth.

Racing with a makeshift crew, the Kiwis started the final day promisingly with a third place behind Ben Ainslie Racing and Oracle Team USA.

But a fifth in the second race set them back, and bad luck in snagging a submerged mooring buoy in race three resulted in a fourth place in the final race of the day.

After taking a 10-point lead into the regatta, Team NZ now sits third on the overall standings, 10 points behind new leaders Ben Ainslie Racing and nine astray of second-placed Oracle Team USA.

The result wasn't unsurprising, given the absence of regular helmsman Peter Burling and Blair Tuke, preparing for their Rio Olympics 49er campaign.

Glenn Ashby took over at the helm of the AC45 catamaran, while wind trimming duties were taken by regular tactician Ray Davies.

Ashby was disappointed but upbeat with Team NZ's Portsmouth performance.

"There is no question that was a frustrating way to finish an event, snagging a submerged mooring buoy so close to a turning mark after we had sailed a pretty good race," he said.

"We certainly performed well as a team over the weekend in new sailing positions throughout the boat, and that continues the growth and learning of the individual and the team," he said.

Team New Zealand returns home for continued testing in their new development boat before the Toulon regatta in September.

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