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NZ fade in final America's Cup regatta

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 20/11/2016

Team New Zealand has faded to finish fourth in the final regatta of the America's Cup world series at Fukuoka in Japan, taking third overall in the nine-round AC45 competition.

British team BAR topped the table in Japan after a challenging last day of double points racing on Hakata Bay, where crews switched from drifting in no wind one minute to foiling down the final run of the day.

The Kiwis finished second in the first race, battling back from a bad start and an immediate penalty after being sandwiched between BAR and Team USA.

A marginal port starboard penalty at the end of leg two in the second race proved costly, Team New Zealand eventually taking fourth.

The third and final race of the day ended in disappointment, the Kiwis trailing the field home in fifth equal place with Team USA.

New Zealand helmsman Peter Burling said the Kiwis could have few complaints about their performance in Fukuoka, or in the final overall standings.

"It was tough out there, it was down to the wire and we just missed out," he said.

"But overall, looking at where we came from at the beginning of the world series, it's probably a fair result.

"Patience and perseverance are key in this campaign - a chapter is closed, and we are already focusing on what lies ahead."

BAR topped the overall wold series table with 512 points, taking invaluable bonus points into next year's America's Cup Qualifiers in Bermuda.

Team USA were second on 493 points, with the New Zealanders third on 485 and Artemis Racing fourth with 466.

Team New Zealand skipper Glenn Ashby says while the results from Fukuoka were disappointing, the Kiwis were now clear to focus on next year's qualifiers.

"A couple of marginal penalties didn't go our way in some close situations, and that just made things harder than they need to be," he said.

"The exciting thing for us now is we have a clear runway to focus entirely on our testing and development program back in New Zealand for the main event next year, in the races that count."

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