Sailing-New Zealand set up America's Cup US rematch with Sweden win

Posted June 20, 2017

Australian skipper James Spithill's Team USA will face Team New Zealand for the America's Cup in a rematch to their epic encounter four years ago.

The third and final day of the America's Cup challenger playoff final between Emirates Team New Zealand and Artemis Racing Sweden.

While Outteridge won Olympic gold in 2012, Burling got his revenge in 2016 in Rio, relegating his rival to silver. mBoth men are now sailing with their 49er partners in the America's Cup competition, with Burling's crew Blair Tuke joining him in the New Zealand boat and Outteridge's team mate Iain Jensen aboard the Artemis catamaran as a "grinder".

"We knew that, in this campaign, being based in New Zealand by ourselves and sailing around by ourselves, if we weren't aggressive in our programme going forwards, ultimately I don't think we would have had a chance of being successful over here in Bermuda".

"We definitely feel like we're in great shape to take on Oracle now", Burling said. However, it all went pear-shaped for Sweden's Aussie helmsman, ending up in the Great Sound coming into the sixth gate after losing himself as Artemis turned, gifting Team New Zealand one of the easiest wins they'll get this year.

He said should New Zealand win in Bermuda, a bid to host the next Americas Cup is not out of reach.

The decisive day got off to an anti-climactic start when the first race was abandoned as the winds dropped and neither boat could make it to the finish line of the shortened course within the 25-minute limit.

"I'm pretty sure we'll be going up against not quite the same Oracle as we went up against in the Challenger Series - but at the same time, there's not a whole heap you can actually improve on other than how you're sailing the boat", he said.

Nathan Outteridge, second from right, slips overboard as he moves across the platform on board Artemis Racing on Sunday. The boat nearly went sideways.

The New Zealanders dominated the race, winning by 56 seconds.

"We felt really strong against them", Outteridge said.

Artemis squared the ledger at 2-2 in the fourth race despite a awful tack when leading on the final upwind leg, but New Zealand won race five easily then race six by one second to seize control.

But Burling and his crew are battle hardened, having come through a frightening capsize in heavy winds in a challenger semi-final race against Land Rover BAR last week.

In 2013, Oracle Team New Zealand started at minus-2 after being penalized in the biggest cheating scandal in America's Cup history.

Outteridge said Team NZ were simply to quick in the final race before commending his own team-mates. "This is the first day we've had the configuration spot on and I think it showed during that race - we were seriously fast and we got a good start".

"We've had some really hard racing from an unbelievable team. We've been pushed really hard in the past couple of weeks and we'll take it easy for a day but we're a lot stronger for it heading into the Match".