Artemis skipper takes a dive, avoids disaster

Artemis Racing skipper Nathan Outteridge feared for his safety when he was almost run over by Team NZ on the Great Sound off Bermuda.

The Team Sweden helmsman slid off his ACC boat and ended up in the water during the third race of today's opening round of the America's Cup challenger final.

As he thrashed around among the waves, Outteridge admitted he panicked, when he saw his rivals bearing down on him.

"I was a bit nervous [Team NZ helmsman Peter Burling] was going to run me over, because they went around the other mark and he was aiming straight for me."

"Eventually, we made eye contact and he missed me by about a boat width."

The first-to-five final match-up sees Emirates Team New Zealand holding a 2-1 lead, but only after watching their opponents lose their helmsman under pressure in the final race.

"I've dried out a little bit, but apart from that, I'm fine," Outteridge told the post-race press conference afterwards.

"I haven't seen the video yet, but it just looked like I got a little flick off the back of the boat. These boats are turning quite quickly and in an effort to get crew weight up quite quickly out of the tack, we sprint across.

"Just as I was crossing the centre of the boat, we straightened the turn, which had me sliding off the aft beam and into the water.

"It's not the first time it's happened to myself or to many people on these boats, and it probably won't be the last time either."

This was one of those situations where the sleek design of these ACC boats actually played against the sailors, as Outteridge desperately tried to halt his slide.

"I was just looking for something to grab onto," he said. "These boats are pretty aero, so there wasn't really much there ... I tried to grab some net or a bit of the boat and just missed everything and ended up in the water.

"Once I resurfaced, I looked up and made a little prayer to wish the guys the best of luck, and hoped they could make the cross and pull off a couple of gybes.

"It's pretty hard, when any person goes overboard, to get these boats around the track, so we're going to have a bit of a look at it to see what we'd do differently and who would go into what position if I go overboard next time.

"The main goal will be to stay on the boat from now on."

With the score locked at 1-1, Team NZ helmsman Peter Burling trailled early in the third encounter, but probably made enough headway to seize an advantage at the fifth mark, before Outteridge's unscheduled departure.

"We were really happy to fight our way back into that last race," he said. "Before Nath went off, it was shaping up to be a really close top mark, where we'd kind of battled our way back in.

"It was a bit of a shame ... we figured out why they had slowed down, when we sailed past him on the run."

Burling had already experienced his overboard moment in Auckland's Waitemata Harbour, before Team NZ left for Bermuda, so he seemed more confident in their ability to handle a short-handed situation.

"Honestly, you just get unlucky sometimes," he said. "How I went overboard was pretty similar, just sliding down the back beam, and trying to hold onto things and not break things as you go, as well.

"It shows you how hard everyone was pushing the boats. It was going to be a really close top mark apart from that, and we felt we'd done a really good job getting back into the race."

Today's results
Emirates Team NZ beat Artemis Racing (Sweden) by 47 secs (NZ 1-0)
Artemis Racing (Sweden) beat Emirates Team NZ by 15 secs (1-1)
Emirates Team NZ beat Artemis Racing (Sweden) withdrew (NZ 2-1)

 

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