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Oracle beats Kiwis to earn America's Cup match bonus point

Teams have claimed to be doing “dry laps” for a while in practice, but this was the first time it has occurred in a competitive race. That came in a 4:06 whitewashing of Groupama Team France, which was eliminated with one race to sail.

Oracle, meanwhile, had to quickly fix a broken rudder before its race against Artemis Racing of Sweden.

The Americans had to be towed back to base for repairs but, while they quickly made it back to the course, they struggled throughout as Sweden won by 24 seconds.

Turning back to his team's choice of Land Rover BAR, Burling explained that, "We believe with the forecasts over the coming week that it represents our best chance of progressing through".

"We are excited to be here", said Artemis Racing's helmsman Nathan Outteridge. We wanted that created this real hunger for everyone.

Barker was asked if Team Japan was allowed to beat Oracle. There were two lead changes, including Oracle sailing into the lead going onto the sixth leg.

Sandwiched between two faultless performances from the Kiwis against Japan and France, Artemis backed up their upset over the defenders in the first round robin with a wire-to-wire victory after Oracle broke a rudder before the race began.

Despite having won only three of eight races, Ainslie's boat is a point behind Team NZ because of the two-point pre-regatta bonus earned by winning the world series. Oracle came into these qualifiers with a one-point bonus for finishing second in the ACWS.

But a disastrous gybe from Land Rover BAR saw the boat nosedive and turn sharply to send Emirates surging clear, with a half-length lead turning into a 350-meter gap within moments.

Oracle will sail against Land Rover BAR in the fourth and final race Saturday.

So if the Kiwis beat Oracle on Saturday and eventually reach the match, it will start with a one-point advantage.

That seems highly unlikely, though. Ainslie helped Oracle Team USA rally from an 8-1 deficit to beat Team New Zealand in the 2013 America's Cup before starting his own campaign, which has the backing of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.

Franck Cammas and his team couldn't close the gap on the other challengers, although defeating Artemis Racing and Land Rover BAR gives them hope for the future.

SoftBank Team Japan had earlier shown their superior speed and foiling technique against Groupama Team France after their skipper Dean Barker got the better start and built on his lead. The British were off Friday.

In what was the final set of races in the Louis Vuitton America's Cup Qualifiers Round Robin 2, the first battle of the day [Round Robin 2, race 12] was a highly anticipated clash between the top two teams in the standings, Emirates Team New Zealand and Oracle Team USA.


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