Yachting: Team NZ stroll into quarter finals

By Dana Johannsen

Team New Zealand have won their way through to today's quarter-finals of the match-racing in the America's Cup world series in San Francisco. Photo / Sarah Ivey
Team New Zealand have won their way through to today's quarter-finals of the match-racing in the America's Cup world series in San Francisco. Photo / Sarah Ivey

With one 13-minute dash around the race course, Team New Zealand have won their way through to today's quarter-finals of the match-racing in the America's Cup world series in San Francisco.

But skipper Dean Barker believes it shouldn't have been so easy.

After having a "shocker" at the last event in San Francisco, Team New Zealand made a strong start to the second round of the series yesterday, blitzing Artemis Red by 51 seconds over the short sprint course to book a meeting with Energy Team France in today's quarter-finals.

The format for the finals has also been abbreviated for this event - with each round being a knock-out race. Previously the finals had been raced over a best-of-three series.

Barker said he would have preferred to get some more racing at the America's Cup venue under their belts. "It's nice to do the racing while you're here, we spend a lot of money to come here and do these events so getting plenty of racing in would be good," he said.

With the competition format not allowing any room for error, Barker said his team will need to be on their game in today's quarterfinal.

"The way its set up at the moment, you have to win races. You make one mistake, you lose the race and that's it."

"We need to make sure we come out firing against the French."

Young New Zealand sailor Peter Burling yesterday made a successful debut in the world series, skippering Team Korea to a narrow win over Luna Rossa Piranha in his match racing qualifier.

After clear skies, light winds and temperatures in the early 30s for the practice races, more traditional San Francisco conditions returned for the opening day of racing, with the fog rolling in and the wind picking up.

With winds gusting up to 20 knots and a difficult sea state caused by low tide in San Francisco Bay, many were predicting a tough introduction to the world of multihull racing for Burling. After all, far more experienced sailors have capsized in lighter conditions in the Bay.

But Burling proved equal to the challenge, capitalising on an error from Luna Rossa's Chris Draper at the start to build a lead. Despite some problems setting the gennaker on

Match racing qualifiers

Q1 Team Korea bt Luna Rossa Piranha +02 seconds
Q2 Energy Team France bt China Team +56s
Q3 Emirates Team New Zealand bt Artemis Red +51s
Q4 Ben Ainslie Racing bt Luna Rossa Swordfish +1m 15s

Repechage

China Team bt Luna Rossa Piranha +06s
Artemis Red bt Luna Rossa Swordfish +33s
Artemis Red bt China Team (DNS).

- NZ Herald

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