Fourth loss is costly for Sir Ben Ainslie's crew

SIR BEN AINSLIE is calling on Land Rover BAR to come out fighting after they suffered a fourth straight defeat in the America's Cup Qualifiers.

Land Rover BAR lost out to France
Land Rover BAR lost out to France

A disappointing defeat to France when they had led for much of the race just added to the pain of day one and day two in round robin one.

So far they have managed just one win in Bermuda but still sit third in the table behind USA and New Zealand.

Ainslie said: ‘It was not our finest race but very well sailed by team France.

‘Time to hunker down, regroup and come back fighting.’

Ainslie was well prepared for an exciting race on day three and predicted a hard-fought battle in the spectacular weather.

All last-minute checks were done and clearly the work paid off.

Land Rover BAR made a flying start as they surged ahead straight away.

At mark one the Portsmouth-based team were already 10 seconds adrift of their rivals.

It was looking good for them as they opened up a 15-second advantage by gate two.

During leg three of seven, France started to turn the tide back in their favour.

The drama really started from there as Ainslie’s crew suffered a poor turn at gate three.

That handed the advantage to the French team in a real turn up for the books.

Land Rover BAR rallied to cut the gap at gate four but it was the French who were asking the questions as they foiled better.

Heading into the final leg France held the advantage and although they suffered a slight nosedive at gate five they had built up a 53-second lead.

That proved enough for victory to continue the huge improvement after poor early races on day one.

For Ainslie it was another case of what might have been as they suffered a fourth loss on the bounce.

In Monday’s other action Emirates Team New Zealand beat Sweden’s Artemis Racing in a dramatic race with nine lead changes before a decisive penalty award.

It was Sweden who grabbed the early advantage but they were hauled back by New Zealand who went from 50m behind to 100m ahead.

There was no way to tell who would take the win going into the final stages of the race.

The two teams were locked together as they cleared gate five and it turned into a real dogfight.

Sweden were then given a penalty as they headed for the line and it handed the victory to New Zealand.

France were back in action against Japan in the third and final race of the day.

Japan were on their foils for 100 per cent of the race up to gate three as they opened up a 44-second lead.

They finally touched down slightly on leg five.

But it didn’t matter as they completed a comfortable win, halting France’s momentum in the process.