Kiwis win thriller on Swede penalty in America's Cup trials

Kiwis win thriller on Swede penalty in America's Cup trials

A thrilling showdown between two of the top challengers turned on a penalty Monday, leaving one crew fighting to keep its 50-foot foiling catamaran from tipping over, and the other crew dumbfounded. There is no appeal of on-the-water umpires' calls.

There were protestations of "no way" and "completely rubbish" on the Swedish catamaran.

Turns out their protestations were spot on.

"The shore crew are looking forward to when Ben's going to bring some beers down", Barker said. "I'm sure Pete and the boys enjoyed it as much as we did, probably a bit more at the end there".

Outteridge felt Artemis gave the Kiwis enough room.

"We need a good result, we owe that to ourselves and to Torbjorn", Percy said.

There were stunned looks on the crewmembers' faces after the finish.

But officials later said the ruling was incorrect.

The controversial penalty which allowed Team New Zealand to snatch victory away from Artemis today was based on a pre-agreement among the teams about how mark roundings should be policed in the America's Cup.

"We were just turning the boat as hard as we could and I think we were pretty lucky not to end up on our side". "What would have been worse is if their boat came a little bit higher over our hull, that would have been really risky". "You get yourself into a tight situation and you've got to dig yourself out of it".

Having put themselves ahead at the start, the Swedish team were forced to drop two-boat lengths behind their rivals after being handed a penalty for crossing the start fractionally early.

Peter Burling's team won two from two after trailing in both races.

Asked if he'd ever sailed in a race with 9 lead changes, Burling responded calmly: "All the time, and for us at Emirates Team New Zealand, that's part of it".

New Zealand finished the first round robin with four points, one behind two-time defending champion Oracle Team USA.

Skippered by Australian Jimmy Spithill, Oracle were looking good after beating Britain's Land Rover BAR by 39 seconds and SoftBank Team Japan by 54 to counter their 39-second loss to Sweden's Artemis Racing.

Oracle pulled into a 3-3 tie atop the standings with Land Rover BAR, which opened with two bonus points based on preliminary regattas. If Oracle wins the qualifiers, it will carry a one-point bonus into the first-of-seven America's Cup match beginning June 17. After the round robins, Oracle will practice on its own while the challengers sail their semifinals and finals.

Artemis blitzed past the Kiwi boat and looked to be heading to certain victory until the penalty light starting flashing on their stern.

Artemis has rallied from a devastating blow in 2013 when Percy's Olympic partner Andrew "Bart" Simpson died in a sailing accident in San Francisco before the last America's Cup.

If the victor of the qualifiers is Oracle or a challenger that advances to the match, that team will start the match with a one-point bonus. At Rio last summer, Burling and Tuke won the gold, with Outteridge and Jensen taking the silver.

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