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.

The rivals were locked at 1-1 after the opening two races, as the Kiwis opened their account with a 47-second win in light conditions, but Team Sweden rallying in the second outing, controlling throughout for a 15-second margin to even the scoreline.

But the third race of the day ended early for Artemis, as Emirates Team NZ slipped into the lead and Outteridge slid off his boat, as he transitioned across hulls.

Team Sweden had probably provided Emirates Team NZ their toughest competition of any challenging team through the early rounds of the regatta, unlucky to lose one head-to-head encounter through an umpire error and forced into another costly penalty in the return match.

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The aggressive style of Outteridge again played a part in opening race of the final, incurring a boundary penalty, as counterpart Peter Burling pressured him upwind.

New Zealand made their first big call of the day, when they elected to go with foils more suited to heavier conditions, while their opponents went with a lighter set-up.

The Swedes gathered speed quicker at the first start, leading by about four boat lengths across the line and eight seconds at the first mark.