Published: Thu, June 15, 2017
Sports | By Mabel Barber

Sailing-Sweden to face New Zealand in America's Cup Challenger final

Artemis skipper Nathan Outteridge aggressively sailed into the lead on the third leg Friday en route to a fourth straight victory over SoftBank Team Japan on Bermuda's Great Sound to clinch a spot in the challenger finals.

Owned by Swedish billionaire Torbjorn Tornqvist and led by Olympic gold medalists Outteridge and Iain Percy of Britain, Artemis won the series 5-3 to move into the best-of-nine challenger finals against Emirates Team New Zealand starting Saturday.

The victor will challenge holders Oracle Team USA for the oldest trophy in global sport in the Louis Vuitton America's Cup Match starting on June 17.

"We're absolutely stoked", Outteridge said shortly after clinching the win.

However, the focal point of discussion back on the dock after an exciting day of close racing in trying, flat water conditions was Outteridges dramatic and unscheduled swim. It's really nice to have that day in the shed tomorrow to really work on the boat and get prepared for the (challenger) finals.

Artemis Racing managed to stay on their foils for the whole of the second race, while New Zealand kept their hulls flying out of the water for 99.9 percent of the time.

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"We hit something just after leaving the marina and didn't have time take the boat up".

While it was "too early to say" whether SoftBank Team Japan would be back for another shot at the cup, Barker said he hoped they had a future given the fan base they have built up in both Japan and New Zealand, where numerous team are from. Artemis chose to remain in the 34th America's Cup, although it missed much of the challenger trials in the 2 1/2 months it took to ready its new boat.

"It was a bit of a shame. we figured out why they had slowed down, when we sailed past him on the run".

But he empathised with his Australian counterpart, having tumbled from the boat himself while Team New Zealand were preparing in Auckland.

Artemis led at the start of all three races. Two years ago, Fuku and I met here in Bermuda to try and figure out how we were going to put a team together and I think the group that was assembled and the support we've had from Japan has been incredible.

"I've dried out a little bit, but apart from that, I'm fine", Outteridge told the post-race press conference afterwards.

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