Emirates New Zealand leads points race after NYC stop

Sun May 8, 2016 5:35pm EDT
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By Mike Stone

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Emirates Team New Zealand won Sunday's final race of the New York City stop for the America's Cup World Series (ACWS) to remain on top in the points race competition between the world's top sailing teams.

The two-day event provided America's Cup skippers a chance to get back on the boats, assess the competition, and further develop the skills and tactics that could be crucial in next year's America's Cup in Bermuda.

Sunday's three races were held on the Hudson River before thousands of spectators, watching in breezy sunshine on the New York promenade the 44-foot twin-hulled sailboats known as AC45Fs rise up on retractable hydrofoil keels and rudders and create the appearance of flying over the surface of the water.

Lively wind from the northwest compounded the effect of the southbound current in the Hudson and Emirates Team New Zealand won the third race as a flukey breeze propelled them from the near the back of the pack to win the last race and the regatta.

Oracle Team USA finished second with Softbank Team Japan third in the final race.

Sweden's entry Artemis Racing held the lead for most of the first race and clinched the win. After race organizers shortened the course for the second race, Groupama Team France won the second race with Oracle Team USA second.

The ACWS overall standings remained unchanged with Emirates Team New Zealand, Oracle Team USA and Land Rover BAR, the British entry, rounding out the top three places. Softbank Team Japan, Artemis Racing and Groupama Team France are fourth, fifth and sixth, respectively.

Light wind conditions and a swift current on the Hudson River made officials abandon Saturday's first race and deem the second one a "substitute race," only counting in the standings if Sunday's conditions did not permit racing.   Continued...

AAC45F racing sailboats Emirates Team New Zealand, Artemis Racing and Land Rover BAR sail in race one during the America's Cup World Series sailing event in New York, U.S., May 8, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Segar