Near-perfect Kiwis take control of America's Cup qualifiers

In other races, Land Rover BAR beat Team Japan and Artemis Racing beat Groupama Team France, which was eliminated Friday.

It was a second defeat of the day for Groupama, who had lost by almost six minutes to SoftBank earlier Thursday.

Great Britain's Land Rover BAR have been chosen by Team New Zealand as their opponents in the challenger semi-finals at the America's Cup in Bermuda.

“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.

"It was a pleasant prestart; we enjoyed that and the first two thirds of the race", Barker said.

When asked if he thought that was the right decision, Spithill was more circumspect: "Time will tell".

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"The boys really kept their composure and Tommy did a great job of getting us back in the race and as you can see, it's never over in these boats", Spithill said.

"Team NZ have beaten BAR twice already this week, including the walkover on Friday (NZT), when the Kiwis nearly lapped their rivals, who withdrew with two legs remaining".

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.

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. "We're up for the challenge and excited to do that".

"This is how it is sometimes in sailing - here in Bermuda we have been spoilt for action so far, and today was just one of those days".

Round robin: Oracle Team USA won the round and its bonus point, meaning it will start the America's Cup finals on June 17 ahead 1-0.

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Although New Zealand fought back, a couple of uncharacteristic errors meant they were unable to get ahead of Spithill's 50-foot (15 metre) catamaran and were beaten easily by the holders of the oldest trophy in worldwide sport.

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

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.

Statistics show the British team are the best off the start line, but poor boat speed and a habit of picking up unwelcome penalties has cost them heavily.

Another factor giving Japan a "home" advantage is that they have based themselves in Bermuda with Oracle Team USA since they were founded in 2015.

The New Zealand team will be looking to bounce back quickly from yesterday's demoralising loss to Team USA.

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