Team NZ close in on America's Cup final


Australian skipper Nathan Outteridge has vowed to continue fighting for an America's Cup finals berth despite his Swedish team Artemis Racing being on the brink of defeat to Team New Zealand.

New Zealand beat Sweden by a near photo-finish in Sunday's third race to go 4-2 up in the first-to-five America's Cup challenger final.

Artemis won the day's opener after making the most of strong winds in Bermuda's Great Sound, but New Zealand hit back with victories in the next two races to edge towards a showdown against three-time reigning champions Team USA.

The Swedish crew are confident they can come back on Monday and get the three-straight wins they need to progress, having also come from behind to beat Japan in the semi-finals.

"We saw in the semi-finals that anything is possible and we'll just keep chipping away," Outteridge told reporters post-race.

"We'll obviously review footage from today and probably review yesterday's again and come out fighting tomorrow with a new and improved game plan."

In Sunday's enthralling third and final race, New Zealand took a commanding lead over the Swedish crew but a poor manoeuvre at the last mark allowed Artemis to come speeding alongside for a drag race to the finish line.

"It shows one little error and you are really struggling," New Zealand helmsman Peter Burling said.

"The boys dug deep and the legs were pretty tired by the end," Burling said with reference to the team's revolutionary "cyclors" who use pedals rather than traditional arm-driven winches.

Although Artemis protested against the course steered by Burling in the final few seconds of the last race, the umpire ruled his catamaran was not at fault.

Artemis had levelled the score at 2-2 in the first race of the day, making what has become a trademark thunderbolt start.

While they looked to have the measure of the New Zealand crew for much of the race, the perils of making mistakes in the foiling catamarans were laid bare when they lost control and lurched dangerously towards their opponents.

New Zealand twice protested but their calls were rejected by the umpires out on the water and Sweden grabbed the win.

New Zealand came from behind in the second encounter as Burling was able to outsmart his long-time sailing rival Outteridge in a tacking duel in winds which had dropped slightly and favoured the longer foils his team had chosen to use.

Artemis once again got the lead in the final race of the day but they were unable to hold on to it, with Burling and his "cyclors" using their better speed upwind to get past them.

Whoever wins the challenger series gets the opportunity to challenge holders Oracle Team USA in the America's Cup Match, which begins on June 17.