Published: Thu, June 15, 2017
Sports | By Brett Lawson

SoftBank Team Japan Exits 35th AC

SoftBank Team Japan Exits 35th AC

Outteridge outsmarted his long-standing rival Peter Burling at the start and his six-man crew managed to fend off New Zealand's attempts to pass them.

New Zealand sailor Dean Barker will turn his attention to helping Oracle Team USA defend the America's Cup after his SoftBank Team Japan was eliminated from the America's Cup Challenger Semi-Finals.

The outcome was a bitter pill to swallow for Barker, who as a former Emirates Team New Zealand skipper who was on the wrong end of one of sports greatest comebacks four years ago in San Francisco when Team New Zealand squandered an 8-1 lead to lose the 34th Americas Cup Match 9-8 to defender Oracle Team USA.

"Once they got in front it was always going to be hard to claw it back", said Barker, who said he hoped the SoftBank Team would return to challenge in the next America's Cup.

In the second race, a flawless Swedish performance handed them a 15-second victory, before Outteridge's third-race blunder put Team New Zealand on the ascendancy.

Artemis Racing of Sweden has clinched a spot in the America's Cup challenger finals by beating SoftBank Team Japan for the fourth straight race.

"We had just battled our way back in and it was obviously a bit of a shame".

He said if he had not slipped they would have won the race and be in the lead.

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"The main emotion I feel right now is enormous pride in what we've achieved over two years", said Barker.

"That was obviously the key moment", an elated Outteridge said of the way the race unfolded in high winds and choppy seas.

Percy, Artemis' team manager and tactician, won Olympic gold and silver medals with Simpson as his crewman in the Star class in 2008 and 2012.

Sponsor SoftBank has said it wants to bring the "Auld Mug" to Japan and teamed up with holders Oracle Team USA, buying a design package to save costs on building its multi-million dollar craft.

This was another painful loss for Barker.

Barker also skippered Team New Zealand during the loss to Alinghi of Switzerland in the 2007 America's Cup match.

Team New Zealand had just pulled ahead of Artemis when Outteridge took a swim. After the Kiwis reached match point, Oracle won eight straight races to retain the oldest trophy in worldwide sports.

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