The Swedish team had defied expectations after securing a victory over Spanish team Desafio Espanol in the Louis Vuitton Cup off Valencia on Monday.
The success against the Spaniards in the eleven-team regatta was a vindication for a team which had struggled with financial difficulties for many years before securing a new sponsorship deal last March.
But the dream was to come to an end on Tuesday for the team founded by the late business mogul Jan Stenbeck and now operated by a syndicate headed by his son Hugo. The Swedes needed both to win against the Kiwis and for the Spaniards to lose to US giants BMW Oracle Racing. So while Desafio lost out to the Americans by 55 seconds, it was not enough to save the Swedes.
Victory Challenge had led by 10sec going round the top mark for the first time before
quickfire Kiwi tacking saw them head through the gate just clear.
The Swedish crew’s skipper Magnus Holmberg doffed his cap to Emirates’ powers of recovery after his team gave Dean Barker’s crew a good run for their money.
“I don’t quite understand how they did it because they were in a very vulnerable position,” Holmberg said. “But they managed to hang on.” – and rein the Swedes in.
“We felt we had a chance to make it to the semis. It was bloody close and we didn’t make it all the way but that’s life,” shrugged the Swede.
BMW maintained their position at the top of the leaderboard with 37 points from 19 races, one clear of the New Zealanders.
The America’s Cup, the oldest active trophy in international sport, is currently held by Alinghi of Switzerland. The winner of the Louis Vuitton Cup will challenge Alinghi for the main prize.
By The Local and agencies