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Team NZ claim spectacular win in New York

NZN 8/05/2016

Team New Zealand have held their nerve to notch a thrilling final-race win in New York and stretch their lead in the America's Cup World Series.

A come-from-behind victory in the third race on the Hudson River followed two third placings, allowing the Kiwi crew to sneak overall victory in the weather-affected fifth round. The first day was abandoned on Saturday due to a lack of wind.

Team NZ stretch their series lead from six to eight points over Team USA, who notched two second placings on Sunday.

In extremely shifty winds on New York Harbour, exacerbated by a strong river current, Team NZ produced solid form in the first two races.

However, they looked set to struggle in the final race when they were a distant last off the start line. They completed a penalty turn after crossing the line early and then tangled with a buoy.

However, the race developed into a pack finish and the New Zealanders picked the best wind shift on what turned into a spectacular sprint finish among the six AC45 catamarans.

Skipper Glenn Ashby praised his team's patience, along with a stroke of luck.

"This was a day where it was important to keep your cool and stayed focused. Never giving up was the key," he said.

"The wind was so turbulent and there were huge gains and losses across the race course.

"Luckily for us, I guess, we waited until the last moment to make use of one of those huge gains."

The regatta was raced to the backdrop of the Manhattan skyline and attracted a large crowd.

The result continues an excellent run of form for Team NZ helmsman Peter Burling and trimmer Blair Tuke, who have claimed a number of international 49er titles over recent months in the lead-up to the Rio Olympics.

The five-man Kiwi crew in New York also comprised tactician Ray Davies and bowman Guy Endean.

They have finished on the podium in all five rounds, with the other victory coming in Gothenburg.

The sixth round of the eight leg series, which serves as a lead-in to the 2017 America's Cup regatta in Bermuda, will be sailed in Chicago in June.

WORLD SERIES STANDINGS: Team NZ 244, Team USA 236, British Ben Ainslie Racing 227, Artemis Racing 203, Team Japan 201, Team France 194.

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