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Team NZ crush British in becalmed Bermuda

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 1/06/2017 Daniel Gilhooly

Team NZ have powered to victory over a floundering British BAR syndicate at the America's Cup, leaving them on course to top qualifying for the challenger series.

The Kiwis looked strong in light Bermuda air while the British boat made a disastrous gybe early in the second leg to virtually cede the result.

BAR skipper Ben Ainslie retired from the race midway up the penultimate leg, with his team more than 6min behind.

Their smaller foils struggled in a breeze which barely surpassed eight knots, the lightest of the regatta.

Organisers were keen for racing to go ahead, having been forced to postpone the previous day's schedule in becalmed conditions.

After an even start, BAR's hopes were shattered when they went off their foils, leaving Ainslie visibly and audibly angered as his boat lost 350m.

The Kiwis were able to foil successfully around the entire course, in an encouraging display if the wind is light in future races at the regatta.

Skipper Glenn Ashby was pleased with how the six-man Team NZ adapted.

"In these light air races it can really come down to the manoeuvring," he said.

"We were just fortunate that we managed to pull off that first gybe well today and keep our boat on its foils for longer than the British."

New Zealand's sixth win from seven races leaves the other challengers with little hope of heading them off for top spot going into the semi-finals.

BAR remain the most likely team to do so after bouncing back to beat Team France later on on Friday (NZT).

Despite having won only three of eight races, Ainslie's boat is just a point behind Team NZ because of the two-point pre-regatta bonus earned by winning the world series.

Holders Team USA (6-1) remain on top of the standings, boosted by one bonus point for placing second in the world series.

The winners of the qualifying series will carry a point into the regatta finale, the Cup Match, if they get that far.

Team France (2-6) shape as the most likely of the five challengers to be eliminated ahead of the semi-finals, having suffered losses to Team Japan (3-4) and BAR on Friday.

New Zealand's opponents on Saturday are Team Japan and Team France.

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