America's Cup: Team NZ choose Ben Ainslie Racing for defender playoffs

After enjoying two nearly flawless wins, the challengers got off to the worst possible start by copping a double penalty at the start. Team New Zealand gets to pick its opponent for the semis.

Turning back to his team's choice of Land Rover BAR, Burling explained that, "We believe with the forecasts over the coming week that it represents our best chance of progressing through".

The clash between BAR and New Zealand had been scheduled as the first race on the Great Sound yesterday, but with no action taking place the Kiwis hopes of jumping out to an early lead in conditions they knew favoured them came to nothing.

The defenders will take a bonus point into the best-of-13 Cup Match in late June, their reward for clinching victory in the qualifying series with their 29-second defeat of Team NZ.

"Obviously it's a little disappointing to lose that one point", says Burling. "The boys sailed a great race it, said Burling".

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The French loss and another win for Artemis Racing in the last race of the day against SoftBank Team Japan means that Emirates Team New Zealand, Britain's Land Rover BAR and the Swedish and Japanese crews will advance to the semi-finals.

Groupama Team France, the pre-event underdogs, have struggled to get their 50-foot foiling catamaran to "fly" as well as the other five crews in the regatta and this was once again the case during their race against Japan.

The British team retired in their first race of the day with Emirates Team New Zealand's victory already secured, but later dug deep to see off Groupama Team France in a thriller.

The result means the US team supported by Oracle Chairman Larry Ellison will have a point lead against whoever gets to challenge them in head-to-head match, which will be won by the first team to get to seven points.

Had Team New Zealand won Saturday's race, it would have earned a bonus point if it made it through to face Oracle.

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"For us it will be a real battle, but we're up for it and looking forward to it", Ainslie said at the briefing.

The American-backed crew, which includes Australians Spithill and Slingsby, will now train on its own while the challengers sail their semifinals, which start Sunday, and finals.

Barker was asked if Team Japan was allowed to beat Oracle.

The second race of the day, [Round Robin 2 race 13] saw Land Rover BAR and Sir Ben Ainslie put on a dominant display in their first of two races, as they overcame Dean Barker's SoftBank Team Japan.

Peter Burling will have Ben Ainslie in his sights, with two races today to begin to cement their place against the victor of the second semi-final tie - Artemis v Team Japan.

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