Yachting: Team NZ struggle in fleet racing

By Dana Johannsen of the new Zealand Herald in San Francisco

Team New Zealand remain off the pace in the fleet racing championship of the America's Cup World Series after two middling performances on the third day of racing in San Francisco today. Photo / AP
Team New Zealand remain off the pace in the fleet racing championship of the America's Cup World Series after two middling performances on the third day of racing in San Francisco today. Photo / AP

Team New Zealand remain off the pace in the fleet racing championship of the America's Cup World Series after two middling performances on the third day of racing in San Francisco today.

Dean Barker and his crew failed to improve on their fifth position on the leaderboard after a fifth and sixth placing in today's races.

It could have been much worse for Team New Zealand after a poor start in the opening race saw them trail the fleet for much of the race. But they managed to salvage a respectable fifth after finding good pressure on the last beat to steal a few extra places.

US swimmer Natalie Coughlin was the sixth-person onboard Team New Zealand for the final fleet race of the day, but the 12-time Olympic medallist could not bring about a change of luck for the Kiwi team as they again battled at the rear of the fleet for much of the race.

British Olympic great Ben Ainslie leads the fleet racing section of the regatta, having recorded top-three finishes in all four races, including two wins.

The two Artemis teams hold down second and third respectively, with Terry Hutchinson leading his stable-mate Nathan Outteridge by two points.

Jimmy Spithill's Oracle team have slipped to fourth after a quiet afternoon on the water, recording a sixth and a fifth.

In the match-racing quarter-finals earlier in the day, Outteridge in Artemis Red scored a surprise win over Russell Coutts after a confusing finish to the race.

Coutts appeared to have won convincingly, but was later ruled a DNF by the principal race officer after rounding the wrong mark on his way to the finish line.

Outteridge will face Team New Zealand in tomorrow's semifinal, after Dean Barker's crew won their way through to the final four in the first round of quarter-finals yesterday.

Hutchinson, in Artemis White, will face off against Spithill in the other semifinal. The No 1 Oracle team edged Ben Ainslie by just eight seconds in a highly-competitive second quarter-final of the day.

Tomorrow's action will open with the semifinals of the match-racing, with the final to be held later in the day following two further fleet races.

- NZ Herald

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