Land Rover BAR secure victory in America's Cup World Series

Jay Asser 20:32 28/02/2016
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Land Rover BAR skippered by Ben Ainslie compete in Oman.

The Great Britain team edged Oracle Team USA by just two points, 76-74, despite not winning any of the three races on Super Sunday, which featured double points.

Audio on the boat caught skipper Ben Ainslie frustrated following poor jumps from the line in each race, two of which resulted in penalties for premature starts, but he was able to urge his crew to fight back to salvage the all-important points.

The final race had Land Rover BAR’s most important charge as they managed to finish third, just one place behind the Americans for checkmate, but their most impressive effort came in race two.

Ainslie’s crew looked dead to rights in the middle race with a last-place standing all the way up to halfway through the final leg before somehow leapfrogging Artemis racing and SoftBank Team Japan to ultimately claim fourth.

“You obviously have to dig it out,” Ainslie said. “Psychologically, if you make a mistake like a bad start, it’s not necessarily the end of the race. It doesn’t help of course, but you have to dig out.

“I think our coaching staff helped us a lot in terms of understanding sailing upwind with the code zero sail, which came into play a lot this week. They mainly helped us get that right and I think that helped us a lot with our performance.”

For much of the race three, Oracle held the lead and appeared on their way to topping the Oman overall standings.

The Americans, however, missed a golden opportunity when they were overtaken by Groupama Team France, forcing skipper Jimmy Spithill to make a tough call.

With Land Rover BAR just behind them, Oracle could only earn first overall in Oman by dropping back and trying to slow down their British rivals. Spithill looked like he gave his crew a go-ahead to drop back, but when real estate was running out between them and the finish line, ORACLE had to settle for second.

“We knew on the last leg that once the French got past us, we had to get a boat between Ben and ourselves,” Spithill said. “I was thinking of how I was going to do it, but at the same time, if you screw it up, you can lose second place overall or third place. We pretty much ran out of options on the third race.”

Though the overall World Series rankings remain unchanged at the top, leaders Emirates Team New Zealand lost marginal ground by once again fading in the final two races of day two after winning the opener yesterday.

The Kiwis will take a six-point cushion over Oracle heading into the next stop in New York from May 7-8.

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