Opening races of America's Cup challenger series postponed

Two textbook wins for Team New Zealand has propelled them to the lead in the America's Cup qualifying series in Bermuda.

Ainslie, for one, wasn't complaining. "And in these conditions, and as the wind picks up, anything can fail, anything can happen, any mistake is going to be heavily penalised". "We have to look at what happened there". "It's absolutely killing us".

Team NZ won eight of their 10 races while the British boat managed only four wins, failing to match their lofty pre-regatta expectations.

Saturday not only saw the conclusion of the qualifiers but also the conclusion of Groupama Team France's involvement in the 35th America's Cup after they failed to progress through to the Challenger Playoffs.

Later Saturday, Oracle faced Land Rover BAR in the final race of round robin two.

But the Japanese team chased them round the course on Bermuda's Great Sound and were penalised after a close call between the two speeding catamarans.

The victory capped off a thrilling Louis Vuitton America's Cup Qualifiers which ended with Oracle Team USA topping the standings with nine points.

The British never recovered.

All the good work climbing back into Oracle on the beat was undone and the Kiwis were in catch-up mode again. Ainslie radioed in to the race committee that he was withdrawing. "It was a frustrating moment for us".

“We believe with the forecasts over the coming week that it represents our best chance of progressing through, ” said Burling, who took the opportunity to pass on his condolences to the family of New Zealander Mary Elizabeth McKee, who was killed in a boat crash in Hamilton Harbour on Thursday night. We had to gybe away and we had a systems failure, which means we couldn't control our daggerboard properly.

Wind has climbed to 4 knots out on the water and there are reports of wind speeds of 8 knots to the south at L.F Wade International Airport that could move across to the Great Sound.

In response, Land Rover BAR helmsman Sir Ben Ainslie, whose team finished third in the qualifiers standings on six points, is prepared for the challenge ahead.

The defenders will take a bonus point into the best-of-13 Cup Match in late June, their reward for clinching victory in the qualifying series with their 29-second defeat of Team NZ.

Emirates Team New Zealand is the top-seeded team and gets to pick its opponent from among Britain's Land Rover BAR, SoftBank Team Japan and Sweden's Artemis Racing.

The holders now have to sit on the sidelines until June 17 when they will defend the cup against one of the challengers.

The six teams race each other twice in the head-to-head match race format, with a point for the victor.

One challenger will be eliminated by Saturday.

Oracle will now train on its own while the challengers sail their semifinals, which start Sunday, and finals.

BAR remain the most likely team to do so after bouncing back to beat Team France. Oracle has now beaten Japan twice in the round-robins.

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