America’s Cup 2017: Great Britain’s Land Rover BAR suffer two defeats

Land Rover BAR were outclassed by New Zealand during their second race on Sunday
35th America’s Cup in Bermuda
Qualifiers: 26 May-3 June Play-offs: 4-8 June & 10-12 June America’s Cup: 17-18 & 24-27 June
Race coverage: Watch highlights on BBC Two, Red Button, Connected TVs, online and BBC Sport app from 11 June.

Great Britain suffered a setback as they lost both of their duels during the second day of racing in the America’s Cup Qualifiers.

Having won their opener before losing race two on Saturday, Ben Ainslie’s Land Rover BAR were defeated by defending champions Oracle Team USA and Emirates Team New Zealand on Sunday.

A nosedive after gate three resulted a 39-second defeat for BAR against USA.

And despite a penalty, New Zealand beat BAR by one minute and 28 seconds.

It looked promising for Ainslie’s team when they led USA into the first gate, before skipper Jimmy Spithill’s Oracle charged into the lead. A mistake after gate three cost the GB catamaran more time.

There followed another defeat, this time against New Zealand. The Kiwis were handed a two-boat-length penalty after the start having crossed the boundary, but they still managed a handsome win following a poor turn by BAR at gate two.

America’s Cup standings
Team Wins Losses World Series points Total points
United States 4 1 1* 5
Great Britain 1 3 2* 3
New Zealand 3 1 0 3
Sweden 2 2 0 2
France 1 2 0 1
Japan 1 3 0 1

*Land Rover BAR started the qualifiers with two points and Oracle Team USA with one point after finishing first and second respectively in the 2015-16 America’s Cup World Series.

‘We nearly sunk’

Land Rover BAR CEO Martin Whitmarsh, the former chief of McLaren’s F1 team, said Ainslie’s catamaran almost perished during the defeat by Japan on Saturday.

BAR’s port hull careered into Japan’s starboard hull prior to the race.

“We very, very nearly sunk,” Land Rover BAR CEO Martin Whitmarsh told the Daily Telegraph. “It was foiled back so we didn’t take too much water on. When we got back here and went down on the hull, very quickly it began filling with water.

“If we had left it in the water for a few more minutes it would have sunk. You’ve got all the electronics, everything.

“I could have climbed up through the hull yesterday, it was that big. We’re talking about 20ft in terms of length.”

Despite the extensive damage, BAR’s shore team worked through the night to have the catamaran race-ready for Sunday.

What about the rest of the field?

It was a great Sunday for USA who won all three of their races. The French catamaran also recorded its first win, with victory over Sweden’s Artemis.

New Zealand also added to their success over BAR by defeating Japan, who currently prop up the table.

How it works

Ainslie steered his Portsmouth-based team to victory in the 2015-16 America’s Cup World Series, a result which earned two points for the qualifying series.

Each team will race each other twice in the qualifiers, scoring one point per win, with the top four teams progressing to the challenger round.

Land Rover BAR started the qualifiers with two points and Oracle Team USA with one after finishing first and second respectively in the 2015-16 America’s Cup World Series.

The top four challengers are split into two best-of-five semi-finals from 4 June, with the winners competing in the final for the right to take on holders Oracle Team USA – who are also taking part in the qualifiers – in the actual America’s Cup matches.

The first to seven points wins the America’s Cup, or the Auld Mug as the trophy is known, with a possible 13 races to be sailed on 17-18 and 24-27 June.

The America’s Cup, the oldest competition in international sport, was first raced in 1851 around the Isle of Wight and has only been won by four nations.

America’s Cup teams
Country Name Helmsman
United States Oracle Team USA Jimmy Spithill
Sweden Artemis Racing Nathan Outteridge
New Zealand Emirates Team New Zealand Peter Burling
France Groupama Team France Franck Cammas
Great Britain Land Rover BAR Ben Ainslie
Japan Softbank Team Japan Dean Barker

Schedule

Three races take place on Monday, with the British team involved in the opener against France. Racing runs from 18:00-19:30 BST.

Race 13 – Great Britain v France

Race 14 – Sweden v New Zealand

Race 15 – France v Japan

Link to full schedule