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Heartbreak for NZL Sailing Team at Youth America's Cup

The NZL Sailing Team suffered heartbreak at the Red Bull Youth America’s Cup this morning, narrowly missing out on retaining the trophy they won four years ago.

The Kiwi team dominated today, winning all three races convincingly. Those wins, coupled with some poor results for Great Britain’s Land Rover BAR Academy who started the day with a handy seven-point lead over the rest of the fleet, saw them claw their way up from fifth overnight to have one hand on the trophy.

They needed to finish three places ahead of BAR in the final race to win the regatta and looked to have it in the bag with BAR in fifth on the final downwind leg.

That was until disaster struck.

Sweden and Germany were comfortably in second and third but tangled at the bottom mark, with Sweden picking up a penalty for not giving Germany enough room and the Germans got caught up on the mark and struggled to break free.

It allowed BAR to catch up and move into second – enough for them to win the Red Bull Youth America’s Cup.

“We were certainly excited the way it was panning out,” NZL Sailing Team skipper Logan Dunning Beck said. “It was in our favour but racing is racing. We were watching all the way to the end, hoping and praying, but it just came down to the wire and the Brits did a fantastic job to pass a couple of boats and did exactly what they needed to take the win.

“The boys are really happy with the way we raced today – clean starts, clean racing and three great results. It’s a bummer we didn’t get there in the end but we are really happy with how the regatta ended.”

An illustration of the NZL Sailing Team’s dominance on the final day was the fact they were 3 minutes and 57 seconds ahead of the second-placed BAR in the final race.

They were one of the only teams to consistently get up on their foils as they eased away from the rest of the fleet.

They will now be left rueing a poor start to the regatta – they were seventh and sixth in the opening two races. The rest of their scorecard reads: 2, 1, 1, 1.

“We love blasting so we couldn’t resist the temptation [to get on the foils],” Dunning Beck said. “We have spent a lot of time making sure the equipment is perfect. I just put the bows in and gave it a good send.”

It wouldn’t have gone unnoticed in the sailing world and each member of the NZL Sailing Team has ambitions to one day step up to the America’s Cup.

It’s a realistic target, given four of the team who won the inaugural Red Bull Youth America’s Cup in San Francisco in 2013 graduated to Emirates Team New Zealand - Burling, Blair Tuke, Andy Maloney and Guy Endean.

Red Bull Youth America’s Cup co-creator, Hans Peter Steinacher, couldn’t have wished for a more dramatic finish to the regatta.

“I think we should send them to Hollywood,” he said. “You couldn’t top things like that.”

It just wasn’t the Hollywood ending the NZL Sailing Team had been hoping for.

Final standings after the Red Bull Youth America’s Cup in Bermuda today:

Land Rover BAR Academy (GBR) – 50 points

NZL Sailing Team – 48

Team Tilt (SUI) – 42

Artemis Youth Racing (SWE) – 37

Team France Jeune – 35

Spanish Impulse – 34

SVB Team Germany - 33

Team BDA (BER) – 33

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