Wed, Jun 07, 2017 - Page 16 News List

England forfeit to hand New Zealand America’s Cup lead


Softbank Team Japan skippered by Dean Barker races during the 35th America’s Cup Challenger Playoffs semi-finals on Monday in Bermuda’s Great Sound.

 Photo: AFP

Ben Ainslie’s Land Rover BAR had a disastrous start to their America’s Cup semi-final against Emirates Team New Zealand on Monday, forfeiting two races after a part in their “wing” sail snapped.

The British breakdown gives New Zealand an easy two-race lead in the best-of-nine semi-final, while Land Rover BAR’s shore team was to spend the night mending the wing for yesterday’s races on Bermuda’s Great Sound.

“We have forfeited racing today due to damage to our wing, we will be back tomorrow to fight another day,” the British team said on Twitter.

The team has a spare wing which it is allowed to use under the America’s Cup rules.

Ainslie’s America’s Cup challenger crew, who are seeking to bring the trophy “home” to England, was forced to quit after hearing a “bang” during what was set up to be a tight race against New Zealand.

The British skipper abruptly halted his 50 foot foiling catamaran to prevent further damage after completing only the second of seven legs in the widely anticipated first race.

New Zealand helmsman Peter Burling had got the better of Ainslie at the start and led to the second mark of the course, but the British boat appeared to be catching them.

Conditions were perfect for the high-octane sailing boats following disappointment on Sunday when racing was postponed because of a lack of wind.

“A bit of a shame for those guys ... it was shaping up to be a good race,” New Zealand helmsman Peter Burling said in televised comments after the British crew retired.

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