Team NZ hit record speed in America's Cup

DUNCAN JOHNSTONE
Last updated 08:25 19/07/2013
Team NZ
Getty Images
IN THE AIR: Team New Zealand foils during a practice run on the San Francisco Harbour.

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Team New Zealand hit a record speed on the America's Cup course in San Francisco today.

Dean Barker's crew, sailing solo again in the continued absence of Swedish challenger Artemis Racing, notched 44.15 knots (81.75 km/h) early in their blast around the short five-leg course in the giant catamaran.

That beat the 43 knot mark they set earlier in the troubled Louis Vuitton Cup challenger series.

Team New Zealand's speed has been impressive throughout the opening two weeks, although how they compare to cup defenders Oracle remains the million dollar question.

Oracle had both of their AC72s out on the course training before the Team New Zealand got to "race".

Oracle spent a lot of time practicing pre-start manoeuvres with James Spithill and Ben Ainslie at the helms of the two giant cats.

But the Kiwis were an impressive sight as they literally flew around the course in winds of about 18 knots which were hitting the upper limits set for the day.

The championship point kept Team New Zealand's lead at the top of the challengers' table.

Luna Rossa are due to race solo on Sunday and then the Italians and Kiwis meet on Monday for a rare two-boat duel.

If Team New Zealand win that race, they will have won the round-robin series and qualify automatically for the Louis Vuitton Cup final.

That would leave Luna Rossa to take on Artemis Racing in the semifinals.

Team New Zealand crew today.

Skipper: Dean Barker; tactician: Ray Davies; wing trimmer: Adam Beashel; trimmer: James Dagg; bow: Richard Meacham; pit: Jeremy Lomas; grinders: Chris Ward, Rob Waddell, Grant Dalton, Chris McAsey; floater/grinder: Derek Saward.

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