BLUN­DER SINKS AINSLIE

Er­ror on the third gate causes Bri­tish leg­end’s de­feat at Amer­ica’s Cup qual­i­fiers

New Straits Times - - Sport -

Bri­tish yacht­ing leg­end Sir Ben Ainslie slumped to a fourth straight de­feat at the Amer­ica’s Cup qual­i­fiers on Mon­day as France’s Groupama Team bat­tled back from a poor start to win.

An er­ror on the third gate from Ainslie’s Land Rover BAR boat al­lowed Groupama, skip­pered by Franck Cam­mas, to steal back into a lead which they never re­lin­quished down the stretch in per­fect rac- ing con­di­tions in Ber­muda’s Great Sound.

The French crossed a full 53 sec­onds ahead of Land Rover BAR, who threw away a promis­ing po­si­tion for the third race in a row.

The de­feat leaves Ainslie’s men with a huge task if they are to ad­vance to the fi­nal of sail­ing’s most pres­ti­gious com­pe­ti­tion.

Four-time Olympic cham­pion Ainslie later ad­mit­ted his team had pro­duced “our best race.”

“Clearly we’re not fast enough up­wind in cer­tain con­di­tions and we’ve got to im­prove that,” Ainslie said. “We’re in a fight with other teams to avoid elim­i­na­tion and we’ve got to work in­cred­i­bly hard from here.

“When you start racing these boats, you make one mis­take and it can cost you ev­ery­thing. And once you do make a mis­take, try­ing to re­cover from that in terms of the en­ergy us­age is in­cred­i­bly hard.”

Af­ter five races, Land Rover BAR are lan­guish­ing third in the stand­ings be­hind hold­ers Or­a­cle on five points and Emi­rates Team New Zealand, who have four. Bri­tain are third with three points.

Groupama’s hopes of build­ing on the win over Ainslie how­ever came un­stuck in their sec­ond race, when they were thrashed by Ja­pan’s Soft­Bank Team Ja­pan, skip­pered by former Team New Zealand ace Dean Barker.

Soft­Bank came home a full 2min 34sec ahead of the French boat in the most onesided race of the qual­i­fy­ing rounds to date.

Ear­lier, a thrilling sec­ond race of the day saw Emi­rates Team New Zealand snatch vic­tory over Swe­den’s Team Artemis af­ter a late penalty went in favour of the Ki­wis.

Artemis, who had bat­tled back to lead af­ter a penalty for an early start, were de­nied vic­tory af­ter they were ruled not to have al­lowed the Ki­wis enough room for their gybe at the fi­nal turn.

The rul­ing in­fu­ri­ated Artemis’s Aus­tralian skip­per Nathan Out­teridge, who could be heard voic­ing his dis­gust over his mi­cro­phone.

“No way! That’s an ab­so­lute joke!” Out­teridge was heard to say, later ad­mit­ting the team had been “shocked” to learn of the penalty.

Kiwi skip­per Peter Burl­ing un­sur­pris­ingly praised the de­ci­sion.

“We were turn­ing the boat as hard as we could and we were lucky not to end up on our side,” Burl­ing said. “With these boats trav­el­ling at 40 knots you need to al­low more room than that.

“It was an in­cred­i­bly fun race. We kept fight­ing our way back into it to give us a chance at the bot­tom mark. Like any sport you’ve got to play to the whis­tle.”

Three races are sched­uled to take place on Tues­day, with Artemis fac­ing Emi­rates Team New Zealand once more while Groupama face hold­ers Or­a­cle. Artemis will face Ainslie’s Land Rover BAR in the third race sched­uled.

AFP PIC

Groupama Team France skip­pered by Franck Gam­mas win their race in the Amer­i­cas Cup Qual­i­fiers in Great Sound, Ber­muda on Mon­day.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Malaysia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.