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America’s Cup: ETNZ punches ticket to the "Auld Mug" against ORACLE

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America's Cup, ENTZ wins the Challenger playoffs
America's Cup, ENTZ wins the Challenger playoffs

Bermuda, Jun 12, 2017 -  It was a nerve-wracking afternoon for New Zealand fans, who saw the first attempt at sailing race seven abandoned when the wind died. But 10 minutes before the last possible starting time for racing, Regatta Director Iain Murray determined the wind had built enough to conduct a fair race. 

In the second attempt at racing, Burling won the start over his counterpart on Artemis Racing, Nathan Outteridge, and led into mark one for the first time in the series.  From there, the Kiwis showed blazing speed, extending around the race course for what appeared to be an easy win and a date in the America’s Cup against ORACLE TEAM USA.

In 2013, in San Francisco, ORACLE TEAM USA skipper Jimmy Spithill led his team to one of the greatest comebacks in sport, racing back from a 1-8 deficit to win 9-8 over Emirates Team New Zealand.  But Peter Burling wasn’t on that team. In fact, the only holdover on the Kiwi starting crew is wing trimmer and skipper Glenn Ashby. This team hasn’t shown any signs of holding any scars from that race. 

“We feel like we’re in great shape to take on Oracle now,” Burling said just after crossing the starting line. “Artemis has been an amazing partner. They’ve pushed us incredibly hard… they've put us in good shape for the Cup.” “We’re here to bring the Cup back to New Zealand and that hasn’t changed. We’ve gone through a lot of adversity… We’re super-excited to take on Oracle.”

Race Report -- Race Seven – ABANDONED – to be re-sailed: 
The first attempt at sailing race seven was abandoned on the second run, when the time limit expired due to a dying breeze. 

Race Report -- Race Seven:
The re-sail of Race Seven started in a 6 to 8 knot southerly, and the pre-start featured both boats heading to the line for timed starts. Peter Burling’s Emirates Team New Zealand had a strong leeward position off the starting line and held Nathan Outteridge up above the line to mark one, to lead around for the first time in the series. With the Kiwis extending on the short run to the bottom gate, Artemis Racing was soon 19-seconds back, early in the race, facing a New Zealand team that always appeared to be sailing faster.  By the windward gate, the wind had shifted to the right, making passing lanes hard to find. But by that stage, Artemis Racing was a full 35-seconds behind. At the end, the delta was nearly a minute.

The America’s Cup Match, presented by Louis Vuitton, starts on June 17.