Sailing-INEOS Team UK stay unbeaten, nightmare continues for American Magic

INEOS Team UK cruised to an 18-second win over Luna Rossa in tough conditions on Sunday to make it four victories from four starts in the opening weekend of the Challenger Series, which decides who face Team New Zealand (TNZ) in the America’s Cup.

A dramatic shift in the wind had earlier forced organizers to stop the day’s opening race with Ben Ainslie’s INEOS Team UK aboard “Britannia” leading after four legs at Waitemata Harbour in Auckland, New Zealand.

The race was then restarted after the course was realigned.

In conditions that were vastly different from the light winds teams experienced on Saturday, INEOS Team UK excelled to seal the win and put themselves in a commanding position.

New York Yacht Club’s American Magic were denied their first points in the series when “Patriot” capsized in the second race of the day after encountering a huge gust of wind while going into a sharp turn.

They were leading Luna Rossa when disaster struck, handing their Italian opponents their second victory of the series from four races.

All members of the American team were accounted for before efforts began to save the boat.

The third round-robin races begin on Jan. 22 with Ainslie’s side in a double-header as INEOS Team UK face winless American Magic first before meeting Luna Rossa.

The winner of the series that ends on Feb. 22 will take on holders TNZ in a series of head-to-head races from March 6 for the America’s Cup, known as the “Auld Mug.” (Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; Editing by William Mallard)

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