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


Underdogs Groupama Team France have won their first race of the America's Cup in Bermuda on Sunday, while defending champions Oracle Team USA tasted defeat for the first time in the contest.

The Swedish team made amends in their second race by ending the three-race winning run of Oracle Team USA with a convincing show of tactics and boat speed giving them victory by a 39-second margin after they took the lead from the start.

There were doubts whether the British crew would be able to race at all after their 50-foot foiling catamaran was holed during a clash with SoftBank Team Japan during the opening day of the 35th America's Cup qualifying races on Saturday.

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.

Skipper Ainslie got the better of Franck Cammas's Team France at the start but - in a carbon copy of the defeats to the U.S. and New Zealand - quickly let that position of dominance slip, with little errors being heavily punished.

Emirates Team New Zealand won races against the Japanese and British teams.


It was just the first day of the most famous sailing event on the planet, but it might just be the most dramatic, with the British Team Ben Ainslie Racing's boat nearly crushing Team Japan's sailors during a sickening collision. "They worked two years for that". From a production point of view I think we did really well today. Seizing the advantage out of the start box, they stayed ahead of their rivals until gate 3 when a big nosedive after the turn proved the decisive moment of the race, allowing ORACLE TEAM USA to seizing the advantage.

Following the collision with Team Japan, Team BAR's boat came close to sinking after the hull lifted right out of the water and slammed into Japan's starboard hull during the pre-start. "It clearly shows that today was about sailing well and trying to avoid some of the tough spots out there".

Ainslie said the shore team "did an awesome job" of patching a hole in the port hull left by Saturday's collision. “Its just a shame we couldnt repay that work with some wins today, ” he said.

However, the tides turned on the fifth leg, as Emirates Team New Zealand demonstrated the full speed of their pedal-powered grinding systems.

Britain were then defeated by one minute and 28 seconds against New Zealand after their opponents recovered from a penalty for crossing the boundary.

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