America's Cup 2017: New Zealand capsize in semi-final but lead 3-1

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Despite the capsize NZ took a 3-1 lead into the third day of racing
35th America's Cup in Bermuda
Play-offs: 4-8 June & 10-12 June America's Cup: 17-18 & 24-27 June
Race coverage: Watch highlights on BBC Two, Red Button, Connected TVs, online and BBC Sport app from 11 June.

New Zealand suffered a spectacular capsize in their America's Cup semi-final against Great Britain but lead the best-of-nine series 3-1.

The catamaran fell forwards on the run-in to the start, leaving some crew suspended in the hull above the water.

Three were thrown overboard but all of New Zealand's crew were accounted for.

"In 30 years of racing I've never seen anything like that," said Sir Ben Ainslie, skipper of GB's Land Rover BAR boat which was awarded its first win.

"Most importantly everyone is fine. It's the first time we have sailed in this much wind. It's full-on and it's mind-blowing.

"All of us sitting here are not going to pass criticism - these boats are incredibly hard to sail and these things can happen."

In high winds in Bermuda, the Kiwi boat rose rapidly on its hydrofoils and appeared to lose control before its bows plunged into the water and the boat flipped sideways.

The British boat was black-flagged and support crews began the process of righting the Kiwi catamaran.

Team New Zealand
Three of the New Zealand crew were thrown overboard while three were stuck in their cockpits

'Bruises and cuts and bits and pieces'

"I was very thankful when I was sitting up top to be able to look out back and see all their heads above water," said New Zealand helmsman Peter Berling, one of the crew left on board during the crash.

"We've all got a few bruises and cuts and bits and pieces, but nothing major."

He said the capsize was "was fully our error" as the crew were "trying to get off the start clean", but also said there were no injuries.

Burling, though, believes the "fair bit of damage" to the AC50 - which appeared to include a top section of the wing smashed - was repairable and expects to be able to resume racing should it go ahead on Wednesday if the weather conditions permit.

However, stronger winds are forecast for Wednesday and could lead to a postponement of races.

In the other semi-final, Japan recorded two more race wins over Sweden to lead 3-1.

The first team in each semi-final to win five races progresses to the challenger final for a chance to take on the American team.

Defending champions USA advanced automatically to the America's Cup matches and they will have a one-point lead over their challengers after topping the qualifying group.

Great Britain began the day trailing 2-0 after suffering a broken wing on the first day of their semi-final against New Zealand.

The British boat were forced to retire from the first race, before forfeiting the second.

Analysis

BBC Sport's Tony Husband in Bermuda

By any standard we've witnessed one of the most dramatic days in America's Cup history. This was racing right on the edge in treacherous conditions out on Bermuda's Great Sound.

For much of the year this North Atlantic island is a sun-drenched paradise, but the clouds darkened, the wind blew up a mighty storm and the best sailors in the world were pushed to the limits. And that's where mistakes can happen.

The capsize was dramatic. Experienced sailors pointed to the young Kiwi helm Pete Burling being out-smarted by Ben Ainslie ahead of the start, forcing the error which sent the boat tripping over itself and into the water. Fans in the grandstand could barely believe what they were seeing.

The Kiwis have been so dominant in this America's Cup, the mightiest of the Challengers suddenly stricken in the Sound.

It left Burling sitting at the helm 15 metres up in the air, no doubt wondering how bad the damage is and whether this competition has just witnessed a huge turning point, just when it looked like the British were at the point of no return.

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America's Cup - all you need to know

Schedule

Wednesday, 7 June

Semi-final races from 18:00-20:00 BST.

New Zealand v Great Britain - Race five

Sweden v Japan - Race five

Great Britain v New Zealand - Race six*

Japan v Sweden - Race six*

*if required

Full schedule

What happens next?

Holders Oracle Team USA await the winners of the challenger final in the America's Cup.

The first to seven points wins the America's Cup, or the Auld Mug as the trophy is known, with a possible 13 races to be sailed on 17-18 and 24-27 June.

The America's Cup, the oldest competition in international sport, was first raced in 1851 around the Isle of Wight and has been won by only four nations.

America's Cup teams
CountryNameHelmsman
United StatesOracle Team USAJimmy Spithill
SwedenArtemis RacingNathan Outteridge
New ZealandEmirates Team New ZealandPeter Burling
FranceGroupama Team FranceFranck Cammas
Great BritainLand Rover BARBen Ainslie
JapanSoftbank Team JapanDean Barker

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