Leading up to the first day of racing in the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup Challenger Playoffs Semi-Finals:
in the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup Qualifier races, ORACLE TEAM USA placed first and takes one point with them to the America’s Cup match. Emirates Team New Zealand came in second. The French team has been eliminated and the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup Challenger Playoffs
Semi-Finals start on June 4.
Because they were second in the Qualifiers, ETNZ was allowed to choose their race mate. They chose Land Rover BAR, who had come in third. This leaves SoftBank Team Japan to face off Artemis Racing in the Semi-Finals
Both of the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup Challenger Playoffs Semi-Finals will be decided by a first to five points race format, with the winners of each Semi-Final then facing each other in the Finals of the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup Challenger Playoffs. The winner goes on to challenge the Defender ORACLE TEAM USA.
On Sun., June 4, Semi-Final Racing was delayed due to light winds of only 2-3 knots. The winds did pick up towards the 6knot minimum, but not consistently. Racing was abandoned after two hours of waiting around.
It started out as a day of highly competitive and exhilarating racing but provided heartbreak for Ben Ainslie and his team.
Mon., June 5, the winds are perfect at 14 – 15 knots across the Great Sound. New Zealand and Great Britain off to a strong start and GB cannot make any mistakes. And they did more than make a mistake. The camber arm broke in their sail and they had to stop and forfeit Race 1 to ETNZ.
In the second race Artemis Racing and SoftBank Team Japan had similar starts, but Japan took off. Maneuver smoothness was very important and JPN took the point in their first Semi-Final race.
Land Rover BAR tried to get back to shore and change out their sail before Race 2, but could not, and had to forfeit again to ETNZ.
Race 4 Japan had a great solid start and then Sweden and Japan both were just ripping it across the water at 30 plus knots. Japan at one point was 200 meters ahead, but by the 4th leg after some solid maneuvers and excellent tacking, Artemis ended up 300 m ahead of SoftBank and grabbed the win.
The day ends with NZ taking 2 wins and JPN and SW 1 win each. The first teams to reach 5 wins will then be in the Challenger Playoffs Finals.
Land Rover BAR plans to be back out on the Great Sound racing on Tuesday. “We have forfeited racing today due to damage to our wing, we will be back tomorrow (Tuesday) to fight another day,” the British team said on Twitter. According to America’s Cup rules, they are allowed to use a spare sail.
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