Artemis Racing reaches America's Cup challenger finals

Artemis will now meet Emirates Team New Zealand in the Challenger Play-off Finals, also a best-of-nine series, starting today.

Sweden's Team Artemis completed its remarkable comeback to eliminate SoftBank Team Japan from the America's Cup Challenger semifinal series on Friday and set up a showdown with Emirates Team New Zealand.

Artemis held a 4-3 advantage going into yesterdays penultimate match, but had to dig deep after a poor start left them trailing behind Team Japan over the first two legs.

Artemis is trying to bounce back from the tragic death of British Olympic star Andrew "Bart" Simpson when its 72-foot catamaran broke apart while training on San Francisco Bay in 2013.

"We're absolutely stoked to be moving on after being down 3-1", Outteridge, an Australian, said shortly after steering his 50-foot foiling catamaran to a 13-second victory.

Asked if he felt Team New Zealand could win the Louis Vuitton Cup and earn the right to take on Oracle Team USA again for the America's Cup, Burling didn't back away.

The last encounter of the day between the Swedish and Japanese teams was decided by a penalty call near the end of race, when Japan's skipper Dean Barker was judged not to have given Nathan Outteridge enough room around a mark.

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"We wouldn't have been in as good a shape as it was today, that's for sure", he said when asked if they could have raced on Thursday. Both teams have had to overcome problems in their quest to become the challenger to America's Cup holder Oracle Team USA.

There are three races scheduled for Sunday.

Outteridge and Team New Zealand skipper Peter Burling know each other well.

Very little separated two evenly matched teams who were locked at 1-1 in the overall series when disaster struck Artemis and virtually handed the Kiwis the match. 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.

Whether SoftBank Team Japan do return to fulfil their sponsor's aim of bringing the cup to Japan may depend on who triumphs in this month's competition. Divers couldn't find any damage, but Barker said the team lost valuable preparation time.

New Zealand made their first big call of the day, when they elected to go with foils more suited to heavier conditions, while their opponents went with a lighter set-up.

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