SIR Ben Ainslie's chances of winning the 36th America's Cup were dented after his Ineos Team UK crew failed to register a point in its vital qualifying event in New Zealand.

Ineos Team UK finished winless after six races in the America’s Cup World Series, with the British team getting off to the worst possible start in Auckland.

Ainslie, who skippers Ineos, had a torrid time throughout the opening day on Thursday — plagued by technical issues, losing their opening race and being forced to withdraw from the second race.Isle of Wight County Press: Sir Ben Ainslie, who hails from Seaview.Sir Ben Ainslie, who hails from Seaview.

But yesterday (Friday), Ineos shed problems with the foil cantilever to push defending champions Emirates Team New Zealand in two races.

Ainslie tried to force the Kiwis to concede a penalty off the start line of race one but, after the New Zealand crew narrowly avoided hitting a 900kg windward mark, they pulled clear to take the win by 90 seconds.

In a repeat match-up in the final race of the day, the result and margin of defeat was the same — despite Ainslie getting the jump on the start line.

Isle of Wight County Press: Ineos Team UK, which is taking part in the America's Cup qualifiers in Auckland, New Zealand.Ineos Team UK, which is taking part in the America's Cup qualifiers in Auckland, New Zealand.

They fared no better in the shortened fifth race, against the Italians, Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli. It was a one-sided affair, as the British team struggled to stay on the foils as the wind dropped.

At the finish, Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli, who had not experienced any flight problems, were almost two legs ahead of Ainslie. New York Yacht Club American Magic then beat Ineos in their final race — a sixth straight loss for the British team, which left them bottom of the table, while the Americans, finished as overall winners.


As the wind gradually dropped, Ainslie's team struggling up the beat and by the time they had passed through gate 3, they were 3mins 29secs behind the Americans.

As the breeze continued to drop even, American Magic struggled to recover from a bad tack.

But they had a big safety margin and, as Ineos went through the penultimate gate, they were 5mins 48secs adrift.

The outcome of the series decides the seeding for the Prada Christmas Cup tomorrow (Sunday), which begins the quest for the ultimate prize, the America’s Cup, also staged in Auckland.

Ainslie was disappointed with how the series went. He said of yesterday's performance: “It was an incredibly tough day for the team because, as we knew going into today, our light air performance is not good enough and not where we want it to be.

"That gets highlighted in these boats because, if you are in the water and not foiling, the losses are huge.

“Whilst we know that is a weakness, it does not make it less frustrating.

"We are working on trying to resolve it by the start of the Challenger Series next month.

"As competitive sailors, taking a beating like that is pretty hard to take, so we will go away, regroup, and keep our heads up.

"The conditions tomorrow are expected to be similar, so we will try to learn more about how we can improve.”