New Zealand suffer spectacular America's Cup capsize - video

Sir Ben Ainslie handed a lifeline after rival team suffers boat damage in terrifying 'pitchpole' accident

Emirates Team New Zealand, America's Cup capsize
Emirates Team New Zealand's yacht capsizes during the America's Cup race against Ben Ainslie's British team
(Image credit: Mark Lloyd/AFP/Getty)

There was high drama in the America's Cup as Emirates Team New Zealand capsized in the final race of the day to hand Sir Ben Ainslie's Land Rover BAR a lifeline in the challenger play-off semi-final.

New Zealand won the first race of the day, but suffered a shocking setback at the start of the second as their yacht pitched nose-first into the water. No one was injured.

Ainslie's team were awarded the race and now trail 3-1 in the best-of-nine series.

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The big question, though, is how much damage the New Zealand boat sustained.

The accident amounted to a "dramatic kiss of life" for Land Rover BAR, says Ron Lewis in The Times.

"Three New Zealand sailors were thrown into the water, with the other three stranded in mid-air as the boat was pulled on to its side and then upright," he adds.

"All crew members were unharmed, although the same could not be said for the boat. The wing looked a write-off, with the top missing completely. The hulls looked intact but bits were falling off and the boat's electronics, having been submerged, could be damaged."

It was a spectacular conclusion to a wild day's racing, says Tom Cary in the Daily Telegraph.

"What an advert for this new style of America's Cup racing. Although to be clear this was scary, scary stuff. Nail-biting. Winds in excess of 20 knots, crossing speeds four times that, boats quite literally being torn to shreds on Bermuda's normally tranquil Sound. And at the end of it all a terrifying 'pitchpole' for New Zealand which left their boat badly damaged, their young helmsman Peter Burling under immense pressure, and Ainslie's British team with a lifeline."

The capsize came at the start of the second race as Burling attempting to bear away, but sent his boat "cartwheeling straight over its multi-million pound wingsail".

"Given the fatal accident involving a British sailor, Andrew 'Bart' Simpson, in a similar - albeit larger - foiling America's Cup catamaran four years ago, the sailing world held its breath. Thankfully, the six-man New Zealand crew were all quickly accounted for. Three of them were still in the boat after it capsized, while three were thrown from it."

New Zealand's chances of fixing their boat are "more hopeful than first thought", says the New Zealand Herald.

"It is understood the main platform of the boat did not sustain any serious structural damage. There is, however, significant damage to fairings, which were ripped off by the force of the water as the bows plunged in," says the paper, adding that the yacht's wing sail "appeared to be shredded".

However, more strong winds are forecast in Bermuda, which could mean racing is put back 24 hours, giving the New Zealand team more time for repairs.

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