The Kiwis won two of three races against Ainslie's Land Rover BAR on Bermuda's Great Sound on Thursday to win the series 5-2 and advance to face the victor of the series between Sweden's Artemis Racing and SoftBank Team Japan.
Grinder Luke Parkinson quickly jumped behind the wheel, but the slipup was enough to allow Kiwi skipper Peter Burling to sail off to victory.
Under pressure from the Kiwis towards the end of race three, Artemis skipper Nathan Outteridge was sprinting to the portside wheel when he lost his footing and slid off the boat. Outteridge and Iain Jensen, an Artemis crewman, won the gold medal in the 49er class in the 2012 Olympics, with Burling and Blair Tuke, also a Team New Zealand crewman, taking the silver.
But after making a crucial error in the first race and allowing New Zealand to get past them, Artemis Racing sailed a near ideal race in their second encounter to level the series.
"That was obviously the key moment", an elated Outteridge said of the way the race unfolded in high winds and choppy seas.
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From there, the Kiwis didn't give Artemis a sniff, blitzing home to claim the day's third race.
"I think he was a bit upset with what happened to be honest", Paul Goodison, a member of the Artemis Racing team, said on BT Sport television after the race, adding that the crew had won three starts and were confident of beating New Zealand.
Artemis led at the start of all three races Saturday.
"I'm so proud of the team and what they've achieved", he said. "The challenge continues, we will be back stronger".
But in their second race, Land Rover BAR managed to get away from New Zealand again and this time maintain their lead, matching their opponents for speed and managing to shake off the stability gremlins which have dogged them previously.
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The idea of building a brand-new Japanese Challenge was at first a daunting task, no doubt made easier with Barker's depth of leadership and Sofuku's passion to see Japan rally behind a new team.
It's eyes on the prize for Team New Zealand and its band of cyclors.
"We're absolutely stoked to be moving on after being down 3-1", Outteridge, an Australian, said shortly after steering his 50-foot foiling catamaran to a 13-second victory.
"Our guys have been working super hard", Burling said. "We thought we were going to have a piece at the top". "That last race of the day, we were still generating a serious amount of power on board so we could just keep throwing it through some pretty good maneuvers".
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