Yachting: Team NZ still lead Naples regatta

Team New Zealand continue to lead at the America's Cup world series regatta in Naples after a seventh and first overnight (NZT) but saw their advantage over rivals Oracle sliced by almost half.

Oracle picked up two second placings in the fleet racing and reduced the gap on Team New Zealand from nine to five points.

Light and fickle off-shore breezes caused difficulties for most crews and Dean Barker was slapped with an early penalty in the first race. Team New Zealand could make little headway and finished seventh.

It looked like it would be a tough day when they started poorly in the second race but the Kiwis made their way through the fleet to claim line honours in the sixth race.

Barker said he was pleased with the fighting spirit of his crew to pick up some valuable points on what was a difficult day.

"Every point counts,'' he said. "Who knows how it will play out by Sunday afternoon? A single point could decide the regatta.''

Their entire focus will be on the fleet racing after they were knocked out at the quarter-final stage of the match racing by Artemis, helmed by Terry Hutchinson. The Swedes took the lead early on the first run and when the breeze dropped there was little chance for the Kiwis to overtake them.

America's Cup world series, Naples Fleet racing (after six races):

Team New Zealand 52 points, 1; Oracle Racing _ Spithill 47 points, 2; Luna Rossa _ Piranha 42 points, 3; Team Korea 39 points, 4; Energy Team 39 points, 4; Luna Rossa _ Swordfish 35 points, 6; Oracle Racing _ Bundock 28 points, 7; Artemis Racing 20 points, 8; China Team 8 points, 9.

- APNZ

- APNZ

© Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production apcf05 at 29 Nov 2014 13:03:23 Processing Time: 745ms