It's a day of reckoning today for Ben Ainslie's Land Rover BAR and Iain Percy's Artemis Racing in a six-race bumper showdown that promises some big speeds and edge-of-the-seat racing

Today is a huge make or break day for challengers of the America’s Cup in a bumper day of racing. The six races this afternoon in Bermuda will decide which teams will race in the challenger finals and go through to the America’s Cup match.

Land Rover BAR is 3-1 down in the first-to-five series and would have to win two out of three races to stay on board – a huge ask even for a miracle worker such as Ben Ainslie.

“A day of reckoning,” is how Land Rover BAR’s CEO Martin Whitmarsh put it in a briefing this morning. The British team will race Emirates Team New Zealand, who say they are fully race ready after their big capsize on Wednesday.

There should be perfect conditions later for some spicy, super-fast racing: 16 knots with gusts of 18-19. Land Rover BAR have already been out practising this morning, smoking around the race course and logging speeds on the bear aways of more than 45 knots.

This mornings’s briefing by the team revealed that the British boat is using their light winds boards (they have to declare these each day five hours prior to racing and cannot change during the day). “That is at definitely at the top end for that and we wouldn’t want [the wind] to climb any more,” commented Whitmarsh.

Land Rover BAR CEO Martin Whitmarsh talking to Georgie Ainslie

The number of races and length of the courses, 1.7 miles between the windward and leeward gates, will mean that the grinders will get absolutely flogged, something that Martin Whitmarsh also mentioned this morning.

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“The intensity of this will be huge in these conditions. It will be a very tough afternoon for the sailors; they will be collapsing.

“Giles [Scott] will be grinding and tactician so he’s in for a hard one. When you hear the team comms, you hear Giles absolutely out of breath, gasping all the way through.

“One of the things they will do, in the first few races, is the grinders will be doing everything they can to produce oil and also to protect Giles because they know Giles will be going through three of these – the only person who will be grinding through three races.”

This is also a day of judgement for Artemis Racing, which is 3-1 down to SoftBank Team Japan and must also win their races today to stay in. The Swedish team will need to get to grips with foil control systems that seemed to haunt them on Wednesday, perhaps as a result of being unable to generate enough hydraulic power at key moments.