25 Jul 2016

Team NZ finish fourth in Portsmouth

9:46 am on 25 July 2016

Team New Zealand have just missed out on the podium at the Louis Vuitton America's Cup World Series event in Portsmouth.

Team New Zealand sailing in Bermuda 2015.

Team New Zealand in action. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Team New Zealand had a rejigged crew due to Blair Tuke and Peter Burling's absence in their build up to the Rio Olympics in the 49er.

With skipper Glenn Ashby on the helm for the first time, and two entirely new faces on the world series boat, Team New Zealand fought hard for a podium finish.

In the end, they missed out by just a few points to finish in fourth spot.

Smart positioning at end of the days first race saw Team New Zealand grab 3rd place behind Ben Ainslie Racing and Oracle Team USA, as Tactician Ray Davies called the perfect entry into the final turning mark before the line.

Race two was more of a challenge, the team securing a fifth place - a tough one for the crew as the fleet spread wide and found strong passing lanes as the breeze increased.

A strong performance in the final race set up the team for another third place but was marred by a submerged mooring buoy positioned on the race course close to the last turning mark.

Foiling at over 17 knots Team New Zealand snagged the line on their starboard daggerboard as they passed the Japanese team, slowing them down, and subsequently giving Team Japan a clear run to secure the final podium spot.

Skipper Glenn Ashby was disappointed but upbeat, with their fourth place in Portsmouth.

"Competing against teams like BAR, Oracle and SoftBank, with unchanged crew roles, we certainly performed well as a team over the weekend in new sailing positions throughout the boat, and that continues the growth and learning of the individual and the team," said Ashby.

"This will continue as we move forwards to the events in Toulon and finally Japan later in the year, at which point we will be back to our normal crew line up with the return of Pete and Blair from the Rio Olympics."

The British team (BAR) are at the top of the standings in the overall series, ahead of defending America's Cup champion Jimmy Spithill's Oracle Team USA with Team New Zealand in third place.

Ashby said the pressure was now on BAR (Ben Ainslie Racing) who they would be gunning for.

Team New Zealand's focus now returns back home to New Zealand where testing in their new development boat continues.