Ainslie keeps cool on day of high seas drama at America's Cup

Ainslie keeps cool on day of high seas drama at America's Cup

07 June 2017 / 07:05

Sir Ben Ainslie’s America’s Cup dream is still alive after one of the most dramatic days of his sailing career.

Already 2-0 down after retiring with wing damage on the first day, in wild conditions the British team took an early lead in the first race of day two, but were overhauled by their opponents and lost the race.

As race two started, Emirates Team New Zealand capsized, resulting in Land Rover BAR being awarded the race win.

And the Land Rover BAR skipper reaffirmed his belief his team can still overhaul their 3-1 deficit in the first-to-five semi-final.

“It was an amazing day of sailing, certainly the most exciting, exhilarating sailing I’ve ever been involved in,” said Ainslie.

“Ultimately we were please with how we sailed as a team, all teams were struggling to get these boats around the course.

“It’s so physical and if you even get just one manoeuvre wrong it puts you on the back foot for the rest of the race. Our guys did a great job

“One loss and one win - considering the conditions today, we are happy with that."

Throughout the day winds were consistently at the upper scale of the 25-knot limit that would see racing postponed.

Immediately after their initial launch, Emirates Team New Zealand suffered wing damage, whilst both Artemis Racing and Softbank Team Japan suffered in tough conditions.

“We were averaging close to 21-23 knots, gusting to 26-27 knots; there was a lot of white water,” admitted Ainslie.

“I’d liken it to skiing on ice, if you slow up and play it sage its almost worse, when you sail fast its extremely rewarding. It is incredibly hard for the helm and the wing trimmer, and all guys on the boat. On days like today it’s the ultimate team sport.”

When Burling and his crew capsized Ainslie immediately ordered his chase boat to assist the stricken yacht as the umpires cancelled the race.

Ainslie said: “It looked like a slight misjudgement on the rake and angle not going to pass judgement, these boats are incredibly hard to sail.

“Thank God everyone is okay and I’m sure they’ll recover and be out racing tomorrow or the next day.”

In the other semi-final, Artemis Racing lost twice against Softbank Team Japan as both teams struggled in blustery conditions that look set to continue on Wednesday.

The Swedish team – featuring British Olympic champions Iain Percy and Paul Goodison – suffered boat damage in the first race as they fell 3-1 behind overall.

Sportsbeat 2017

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