Kiwis advance to America's Cup challenger finals


The comeback Kiwis are into the final of the Louis Vuitton Challenger Series, Emirates Team New Zealand knocking out Britain's Land Rover Ben Ainslie Racing with a combination of pace and poise in their rebuilt boat. "We knew it was going to be incredibly tough for the first attempt, but certainly where the team has come from, even in the last couple of months, the performance gains we have made, is a huge credit to everyone in the team".

Burling didn't think Artemis would be ahead 2-1 if Outteridge hadn't gone into the drink, saying the team's cycling grinders were still on top of their game.

Artemis Racing of Sweden clinched a spot in the America's Cup challenger finals by beating SoftBank Team Japan on Friday for the fourth straight time.

The challenger final resumes on Sunday with three more races. Martin Whitmarsh, the chief executive of Land Rover BAR, wants to bring more structure to the event and his idea of staging it every two years has been backed by five of the six teams involved, with only New Zealand yet to agree.

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.

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"Words don't describe the feeling when we got back to the dock and saw all the family, team members and friends", continued Barker.

He said the shore team and designers encouraged the sailors to push the boat as hard as they could.

"We were really thankful that no-one was hurt", he said.

"I was just looking for something to grab onto", said Outteridge, an Australian who has won Olympic gold and silver medals.

Team New Zealand won both races against Artemis in the round robins.

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"The whole team has dug so deep to get us more competitive, to the point where there wasn't a lot of difference between the teams today".

Devoid of their captain, the Swedes gave up the ghost in Bermuda's Great Sound and retired, allowing the Kiwis to freely sail to victory.

Very little separated two evenly matched teams who were locked at 1-1 in the overall series when disaster struck Artemis and virtually handed the Kiwis the match.

Land Rover will increase the technology and engineering resources and expertise offered to the team for the design and development of the next America's Cup boat.

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