Man overboard! Artemis' skipper goes flying into Bermuda's Great Sound

Artemis skipper Nathan Outteridge aggressively sailed into the lead on the third leg Friday en route to a fourth straight victory over SoftBank Team Japan on Bermuda's Great Sound to clinch a spot in the challenger finals.

New Zealand showed the same slick consistency they have done throughout the challenger series, keeping their 50-foot (15 metre) foiling catamaran above the water for much of the time.

Grinder Luke Parkinson quickly jumped behind the wheel, but the slipup was enough to allow Kiwi skipper Peter Burling to sail off to victory.

SoftBank's hopes were dealt a blow shortly before Friday's race, when its boat struck an unidentified object in the water. The victor of each first-to-five semi-final progresses to the challenger final and whoever wins that will take on Oracle Team USA in the America's Cup Match starting on June 17.

Artemis had been almost flawless in Race 2, leading wire-to-wire and staying on its hydrofoils the whole way.

The challenger final resumes on Sunday with three more races.

In the first race Burling was able to climb back courtesy of two Artemis errors - a miss-timed tack and a penalty for the for crossing the boundary line.

The victor will meet two-time defending champion Oracle Team USA in the 35th America's Cup match starting June 17.

June 9 Years after losing the 2013 America's Cup to Oracle Team USA, disappointment was still etched on Dean Barker's face. The New Zealand crew have been outstanding throughout the 35th America's Cup challenger races in Bermuda's Great Sound, achieving the first 100 percent "flying" time, when the hulls stayed out of the water on foils for the whole race.

Burling said the extra day to work on their boat after Thursday's races were postponed because of high winds, was a real bonus.

The New Zealander had not only been at the receiving end of one of the most spectacular sporting comebacks in San Francisco, he was then dumped as skipper by Emirates Team New Zealand.

With Artemis ruling the start box in all three races, the Kiwis found themselves playing catch up all day.

"We will have to see." he said of his own future, adding that he had always said he loved racing and would like to continue. "We're going to be ready to go tomorrow".

"I've always said I love racing and I'd like to keep racing".

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