America's Cup: Team New Zealand find perfection as Sweden stun Oracle again

Emirates Team New Zealand broke through the next great barrier in sailing as they cruised to victory over Groupama Team France in the Louis Vuitton Americas Cup Qualifiers yesterday.

Still, Peter Burling, the New Zealand helmsman, was not exactly ecstatic with the achievement, saying it should be considered “a given” that teams would be able to do it.

"The size of the task they will face [in the play-offs] was brutally underlined as Ainslie voluntarily retired from a race for the first time in his career as they were crushed by Emirates Team New Zealand on another day of light winds on the Great Sound in Bermuda".

Even if the French crew skippered by Franck Cammas beat Sweden's Artemis Racing on Saturday, an inferior track record in the pre-event series means they can not overcome the other teams who are also seeking to challenge Oracle Team USA.

Franck Cammas and his French team have only two points in the head-to-head contest, after losing six of their eight races.

SoftBank Team Japan refused to give up the battle, remaining under 20 seconds behind Artemis Racing throughout the entirety of the race.

In this photo provided by the America's Cup Event Authority, Sweden’s Artemis racing and SoftBank Team Japan compete during America's Cup qualifying on the Great Sound in Bermuda on Friday, June 2, 2017.

"Really excited. The race against the Kiwis is going to be the decider for us in the bonus point".

In a crucial result, Cup holders Team USA lost their only race on Saturday (NZT), by 24sec to the Swedish syndicate, leaving them a point behind Team NZ at the top of the standings.

"Things are looking very tough but we are still alive and will do the best we can".

The two teams have a huge showdown Saturday, the final day of round robin two. If Oracle wins the qualifiers, it will carry a one-point bonus into the first-to-seven America's Cup match beginning June 17.

Had Team New Zealand won Saturday's race, would have earned a bonus point if it made it through to the match.

“This has been a great learning opportunity, ” Burling said. "We definitely learned a lot last time we sailed in these conditions".

Ainslie's Land Rover BAR was leading Emirates Team New Zealand early on the first downwind leg when it attempted a gybe and the 50-foot catamaran came crashing off its foils, burying its hulls in the turquoise water.

SoftBank Team Japan also gets expertise in aerodynamics, instrumentation, simulation, composites, structures, hydraulics and data analysis from Airbus, the European plane maker and "innovation partner" to both teams.

SoftBank Team Japan opted for a radically different course to other new teams seeking to challenge Oracle Team USA in this month's 35th America's Cup.

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