Sweden beat New Zealand to level America's Cup duel

Sir Ben Ainslie's hopes of delivering a first America's Cup title to a British team ended in semi-final defeat to New Zealand.

The Kiwi syndicate won two of the three races on Friday (NZT) to clinch their semi-final, having held a 3-1 lead in the best-of-five series.

"That was obviously the key moment", an elated Outteridge said of the way the race unfolded in high winds and choppy seas.

The two crews, who are going head-to-head in their quest to take on America's Cup holders Oracle Team USA, fought three fascinating duels in their catamarans.

Oracle Team USA hired former open water Olympic swimmer and iron man Ky Hurst to fill one of its "grinder" positions, while Artemis Racing has Anders Gustafsson, who competed in four games in the canoe sprint.

"Other than that I think they're a fantastic technical challenge and physically for sailors out on the water".

The pair were locked one-all going into the last race, and Team New Zealand was on the charge from behind when disaster struck the Swedish team.

Team New Zealand have taken a dramatic 2-1 lead in the America's Cup challenger final off Bermuda, after rivals Artemis Racing lost skipper Nathan Outteridge overboard.

But in their second race, Land Rover BAR managed to get away from New Zealand again and this time maintain their lead, matching their opponents for speed and managing to shake off the stability gremlins which have dogged them previously.

The America's Cup, the oldest competition in global sport, was first raced in 1851 around the Isle of Wight and has only been won by four nations.

The victor will meet two-time defending champion Oracle Team USA in the 35th America's Cup match starting June 17.

Earlier in the day Team New Zealand won the first race on their smaller foils - a surprise in the lighter conditions.

"Where we're getting to with this journey and the America's Cup in recent times is really positive for the Cup and the sport of sailing".

He said: "I was really proud of the way the team sailed both today and with our approach to this whole series".

Team Japan drew another penalty when the two boats nearly touched at gate five in the final race of the day, handing Artemis a comfortable win.

"I put the team together and I'm responsible if we win or lose".

But Artemis and Outteridge were soon hunting them down, and the Swedes seized control when Outteridge's overtaking maneuver allowed them to pull clear on the third leg after Japan tacked poorly.

  • Julie Sanders