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Americas Cup Latest Race Report From Auckland NZ.

Americas Cup Report - Race Day 5 - 13 November, 1999:

Stars & Stripes Continues To Shine - Young America Back In Form - Prada Returns To Winning Ways:

Race Five marked the debut of USA-58 for Young America. The Americans worked feverishly to ready the boat for measurement in advance of today's race.

Young America looked good on the racecourse, showing strong speed and pointing ability upwind in its win over Le Défi.

Young Australia celebrated its second win, again over the Swiss, and Prada Challenge returned to its winning ways in its match against Spain.

The match of the day was between Stars & Stripes and Nippon Challenge. The Americans sailed a smart race, gaining on windshifts to lead at the top mark. Stars & Stripes was able to match the aggressive Japanese in a gybing duel downwind, Asura drawing a penalty.

There was another casualty in Race Five, Abracadabra retiring after tearing a mainsail for the second time this round.

Perfect racing conditions returned to Auckland on Saturday, sunshine and 15-20 knot breezes caressing the racecourse.

Francesco de Angelis and Luna Rossa (ITA-45) returned to their winning ways with a convincing victory over Bravo España (ESP-47). The Spanish were aggressive in the pre start, forcing Luna Rossa into a dial up, both boats luffing before they raced off downwind of the start line, Bravo España trailing Luna Rossa. Spain tacked and turned for the start line first, but they it was a little early, and had to bear off for the pin end of the line. Luna Rossa hit the line well at the committee boat end. Both boats crossed as the gun fired. Luna Rossa gained on several short tacks as the wind oscillated left and right rounding the top mark ahead by nearly one minute. Bravo España had to luff sharply to make the mark, losing more time. De Angelis sailed a conservative race the rest of the way, covering Campos upwind and downwind, to finish with a comfortable lead.

Ken Read, steering Stars & Stripes (USA-55) engaged in a tense battle with Peter Gilmour at the helm of Asura (JPN-44) throughout this race. After a tight fight for superiority before the gun and above the start line, Gilmour went for a high speed start at the pin and control of the left hand side. The tactic brought the Japanese boat an edge for much of the first weather leg but Read had starboard tack advantage at the top mark and shut Asura out. They rounded nose-to-tail, with less than a metre separating them. Asura pulled up level for much of the run but incurred a penalty in the subsequent gybing duels. Gilmour led at the lee mark, but the right paid off for Stars & Stripes which overtook on the second windward leg to lead for the rest of the race. Gilmour continued to attack but without success. Asura's penalty turn as she trailed into the finish was just the icing on the cake for the American boat.

This pair enjoyed an active pre-start with Bertrand Pacé, steering Le Défi (FRA-46) eventually settling for the left hand side of the pair and starting two thirds of the way down the line. Ed Baird, at the helm of Young America (USA-58) started a third of the line length to windward and the pair sailed off up the windward leg. Initially, the never-previously-raced Young America, demonstrated its pedigree and showed better pace upwind, Pacé eventually tacking over to port and crossing behind Young America. The two boats exchanged tacks in their efforts to position themselves correctly relative to the shifts. Three quarters of the way up the first leg the French boat came within a length of the Young Americans before being bounced back to the left. Baird and his afterguard got back in control of the strategy and managed to pull out a lead of 37 seconds by the first mark. There was no change on the first run but from then on Young America was able to pull out significant chunks of time on every leg to comfortably win this first race with their second boat.

Abracadabra 2000 (USA-54) was the latest casualty in the Louis Vuitton Cup, blowing out a mainsail during its race against America True (USA-51). Abracadabra was trailing around the first leeward mark when its mainsail split along the top batten pocket. John Kolius was behind for the entire race in Abracadabra, after losing a pre-start battle to John Cutler in America True. Cutler won the start by leading Kolius back to the line. Kolius had to dive behind America True to avoid being pushed out at the committee boat end. He never recovered from that position. Abracadabra didn't retire immediately after blowing out its sail, sailing at times a full leg behind under headsail alone in case America True suffered damage of its own which would allow Kolius back into the race. Abracadabra retired as America True crossed the finish line.

Young Australia won its second match in the Louis Vuitton Cup and its first in its replacement boat AUS-31. Just as in the first round, the Swiss on be hAPpy (SUI-59) were the victims. Twenty-year-old James Spithill won the start from three time gold medallist Jochen Schüman. In the pre-start the Swiss tried to sail away from Young Australia, but on their way back to the start line Spithill picked them up and forced the Swiss outside the starboard lay line at the committee boat end of the start. The grey Australian boat was 17 seconds ahead at the start as both boats started late. Spithill defended the favoured right side successfully on the first beat, leading by 12 seconds at the top mark. On the run Schümann closed to within seconds of the Australians. FAST 2000 gybed away in order to pass, but the gybe was costly and AUS-31 sailed away gaining two crucial boat lengths. Later again FAST 2000 gained on the second run but Young Australia was never really threatened.

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