4 Jun 2017

Team New Zealand refocusses ahead of semis

9:32 pm on 4 June 2017

Team New Zealand refocusses on Monday on the semi-final stage of the America's Cup challenger series in Bermuda, after missing the chance of a bonus point for the Cup finals.

Emirates Team New Zealand and Oracle Team USA meet in their final match of the America's Cup Qualifiers.

Emirates Team New Zealand and Oracle Team USA meet in their final match of the America's Cup Qualifiers. Photo: Photosport

The team faces Sir Ben Ainslie's BAR in up to four days of racing, until one of them has scored five wins to progress to the challenger final.

Team New Zealand's young crew will have been through a calming de-brief from the older hands such as former tactician Ray Davies, and veteran Murray Jones, after an uncharacteristically mistake-dogged performance against Oracle Team USA.

It was a performance Oracle's skipper Jimmy Spithill seemed happy to call "rattled".

Team New Zealand helmsman Peter Burling would not elaborate on their choice of BAR as semi-final opponent, but Sir Ben Ainslie told me he had a fair idea.

"I imagine it's performance across the range of conditions, and looking at tomorrow it's quite light winds which is really a sweet spot for Team New Zealand with those super-long daggerboards," he told RNZ.

"It's going to be very tough to beat them but I believe we can," he said.

Peter Burling put a positive front on today's loss, but also admitted errors in copping penalties.

"We definitely didn't sail our best race and we'll be stronger for that, and you can't lie about that," he told RNZ.

"It was my bad judgement at the start, I thought we'd be able to get over the top but to get a penalty there and to be to run him down by the next mark, and make a mistake there as well, we're definitely in the game on speed," he said.

"We really feel like we'll be stronger after today."

In the other semi-final pairing, Dean Barker's Softbank Team Japan will face Sweden's Artemis. Barker's team the lowest-ranked surviving challenger with just three wins in the qualifier rounds.

Barker told RNZ it didn't matter to him which team they faced.

"We've got to be able to beat any of the teams," he said.

"We've had a rough ride through the qualifiers and are a bit disappointed with some of the results, but in general happy with the way the boat's going."

"It seems like it's fast and we're sailing the boat well, but just making little mistakes that are costing us races," said Barker.

Light conditions are forecast for the first day, with building winds after that, in the lead-up to the challenger finals next weekend.

Get the new RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs

We have regular online commentary of local and international sport.