Dana Johannsen is the NZ Herald's chief sports reporter

Team New Zealand chasing crucial points in America's Cup World Series finale

Emirates Team New Zealand skipper Glenn Ashby says one slip-up could cost a team the series win in Japan.
Emirates Team New Zealand skipper Glenn Ashby says one slip-up could cost a team the series win in Japan.

The first phase of America's Cup racing will come to a close in Japan this weekend with the final stop of the World Series circuit.

Featuring all six America's Cup syndicates racing in foiling, one-design AC45 catamarans, the event will determine the final overall rankings for the World Series.

The World Series champions will not only claim the trophy, but also take two points through to the America's Cup qualifiers in Bermuda in May, while the second-placed team will carry one point through.

Ben Ainslie's Land Rover BAR have a significant advantage heading into the weekend, with a 14-point lead in the series. Oracle Team USA are in second, despite being yet to win an event in the series. Emirates Team New Zealand are a further three points back after failing to make the podium in the last three events.

Softbank Team Japan, led by Dean Barker, are also a chance of taking some points through to the next round, but will need to pull something out of the bag in their home regatta in Fukuoka, which lies on the northern shore of Japan's Kyushu island.

Team New Zealand helmsman Peter Burling said the points table isn't weighing on his mind heading into the final event of the series.


"The bottom line is we have to sail well here in Japan and we know how to do that. You cannot overthink the big-picture situation, in terms of the overall win. If you concentrate on doing all of the small things right on the race course then the overall result should technically look after itself. We will just sail every race like it's the only race."

Skipper Glenn Ashby said just one slip-up could put a team out of contention for the series win.

"We just want to stay clear of everyone else and stay fast. Land Rover BAR did a nice job to arrive in pole position but with three double points races scheduled, there are still plenty of points on offer. The good thing for us is we have great sailors onboard who can perform well under pressure so bring it on - we can't wait."

The forecast looks set for more light-air racing, which has been the standard in the Louis Vuitton America's Cup World series so far, with practice racing in Fukuoka beginning tomorrow, followed by standard points racing on Saturday and double points racing on Sunday.

Louis Vuitton America's Cup World Series overall leaderboard
Land Rover BAR 437
Oracle Team USA 423
Emirates Team New Zealand 420
Softbank Team Japan 399
Artemis Racing 391
Groupama Team France 360


Team New Zealand crew
Glenn Ashby (skipper)
Peter Burling (helmsman)
Ray Davies (tactician)
Blair Tuke (trimmer)
Guy Endean (grinder)

- NZ Herald

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