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Americas Cup - Prada Dismast Saga And More

Luna Rossa ITA 45 of team Prada dismasted on January 5 during the first leg of the match against AmericaOne.

The Italian yacht was sailing on starboard tack in ideal conditions, flat seas and a 12 knots breeze, when the mast suddenly broke in half at the third spreader. No one was injured on board.

Francesco de Angelis and his crew immediately started to clear the wreckage, with a man aloft, and to try and cut the mainsail clear, with Luna Rossa under tow.

At a first examination of the mast and of the rig, it appears that the cause of the damage is a failure of the rigging at the level of the third spreader.

The Race Committee had given the start of Luna Rossa's match at 13.35 local time; in a very aggressive pre-start Paul Cayard (skipper of AmericaOne), squeezed in between Luna Rossa and the Committee boat 30 seconds before the start.

The Americans rounded the Committee boat, with Luna Rossa on port coming round the other way. Cayard managed to gybe and duck between the Committee boat and Luna Rossa (who was still sailing on port), crossing the start line 10 seconds before his rival.

The Italian crew protested AmericaOne for failing to keep clear as they approached on opposite tacks, but the Umpires judged the Americans had met their obligation. Luna Rossa recovered quickly sailing the shifts with a good speed and gaining over AmericaOne.

The Italians had just crossed only half a boat length behind when the mast broke in half.

Francesco de Angelis said: "We have just stepped the broken mast off. The tip-cup at the third spreader failed. We are very sorry because I think it was going to be a good race as the boats were very close to each other.
"Unfortunately we were stopped just two miles after the start. We must now forget what happened today and focus on tomorrow's race. We will be sailing later to check the mast we will use tomorrow."

Only half an hour after the press conference Luna Rossa was being towed out, ready to sail in order to fine tune the mast and the sails which will be used in the race tomorrow.

AmericaOne had to complete the course alone in order win the race, gaining one point.

In the other matches, the French of Le Defi and Stars & Stripes fought a close duel; the French were penalised once for entering the start box too early, then they incurred in a second penalty when they collided with the Americans at the end of the first downwind leg.

Team Dennis Conner asked for a postponement in order to fix the damage on the boat.

In the other matchs Nippon Challenge won over America True.

RACING RESULTS - Race 3 of the Semi-finals
1st match Team Dennis Conner wins over Le Defi (2 minutes 55 seconds)
2nd match Nippon Challenge wins over America True (1 minute 31 seconds)
3rd match AmericaOne wins against Prada Challenge (Prada dismastes)

3 pts - USA 55 (Stars & Stripes)
2 pts - USA 61 (AmericaOne)
2 pts - JPN 44 (Asura)
1 pt - ITA 45 (Luna Rossa)
1 pts - USA 51 (America True)
0 pts - FRA 46 (6eme Sens)

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