Sailing: INEOS Team UK stay unbeaten in Challenger Series


(Reuters) - INEOS Team UK continued their perfect start to the Challenger Series on Saturday with a dominant victory over American Magic in the first race of the second set of round-robin meetings.

Ben Ainslie's side had lost all of their meetings in the December regatta but produced a remarkable turnaround by beating American Magic and Italy's Luna Rossa on Friday.

'Britannia' finished four minutes and 59 seconds faster than American Magic's 'Patriot' in difficult conditions due to light winds at Waitemata Harbour in Auckland on Saturday to go 3-0 in the series.

"We managed to muscle the boat around and get the win," skipper Ainslie, whose side also had to deal with a delayed start due to changing wind direction, said.

"Certainly a huge improvement from where we were three weeks ago...We won the race in really tricky conditions so I wouldn't say it's an accurate read of our light air performance, but we'll take the win."

It was a disappointing outing for the American side, who had handed America's Cup holders Team New Zealand (TNZ) their only loss in the December races, as they failed to finish the day's opening clash with Luna Rossa who won their first point.

They managed to cross the line with a second to spare in the second race.

Luna Rossa face INEOS Team UK in Sunday's opening race and then take on American Magic to conclude the second round-robin meetings. The third round-robin races will begin on Jan. 22.

The winner of the series will earn the right to challenge TNZ in the 36th America's Cup, which begins on March 6.

(Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; Editing by Jacqueline Wong)

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