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Americas Cup - Italy's Prada Team Tested In RR3

STRONG BATTLE BETWEEN LUNA ROSSA AND LE DEFI

Luna Rossa - ITA 48 fought a close and exciting duel against France's 6eme Sens - FRA 46 of Le Defi Bouygues Telecom-Transiciel. Team Prada won the race by 37 seconds. The win follows a close race against Young America on Thursday where Prada crossed the finish line just 23 seconds ahead.

But Prada's new boat Luna Rossa ITA 48 is proving competitive even if it is taking some time to be run in. In the meantime its crew's three year experience sailing on Auckland's Hauraki Gulf is paying off. The gulf's micro-wind-climate and labyrinth of confusing currents and rips requires almost intimate knowledge for any Americas Cup challenger hopeful.

And the Prada team has this week demonstrated that knowledge. When struggling to gain a lead against Young America on Thursday, Prada's crew elected to head for the risky land winds on the Stillwater, Whangapaoroa side of the course. Tides also proved advantageous. Luna Rossa returned on tack to take the lead from Young America. The move was revealing.

Yesterday's match against the French team also tested Prada's Luna Rossa ITA48.

A few minutes before the start the French team asked for a delay to fix a problem on the boom vang. The Race Committee fired the gun 30 minutes after the scheduled time, at 12.50 local time. Luna Rossa crossed the line to leeward 4 seconds behind the French. At the first cross Bertrand Pace, skipper of 6eme Sens, was ahead by one and a half boat length.

During the first beat the two boats sailed with similar speed, but Luna Rossa managed to take the lead by one boat length by sailing into good wind shifts.

At the first windward mark Luna Rossa sailing on port failed to keep clear of the French and were given a pnealty by the Umpires. Both crews hoisted the spinnakers and kept a tight control on each other, with the wind up to 20 knots and moderate seas.

At the next leeward mark both teams displayed many protest flags, 14 in all, but the Umpires inflicted no penalties. Luna Rossa rounded the mark 5 seconds ahead and managed to increase her lead in the following beat.

At the next windward mark Prada was leading by 30 seconds. On the second run Pace pressed Luna Rossa and made some gains, but then lost control of the boat in a gybe.

Luna Rossa increased the lead rounding the mark 25 seconds ahead. At the end of the third and last beat her lead had increased to 1 minute and 5 seconds; during the last run the boom vang broke on Luna Rossa, but it was immediately fixed, whilst the French had trouble dropping the spinnaker and completed the leg with no spinnaker pole. Luna Rossa had enough time to complete her penalty turn (270°) before the finish line winning the race with a comfortable lead of 37 seconds.

Francesco de Angelis said today: "Each race is difficult, and today it was very tough. The south-westerly breeze makes this race area particularly difficult, too. The French pushed hard all the way through and we had to do our best to keep the lead to the end."

Other Matches:

Swiss Lose Mast! The Swiss boat be hAPpy lost the mast today during the third beat in her race against the Spanish. The Swiss don't have a spare one but the Spanish offered them one of their masts; tonight the Arbitration Panel will decide whether this offer can be accepted under the America's Cup Deed of Gift.

Nippon Challenge and Young America fought a close race today, with Young America being inflicted two penalties and the Japanese winning by almost 5 minutes.

America True, too, had a close race against Team Dennis Conner and won by 30 seconds after blowing up the spinnaker in the last leg of the race.

AmericaOne won over Abracadabra 2000.

RACING RESULTS OF TODAY - RACE 2 of Round Robin 3
1st Match Spanish Challenge wins against FAST2000 (FAST2000 retires from the race)
2nd Match Nippon Challenge wins against Young America (4 minutes 55 seconds)
3rd Match Prada Challenge wins against Le Defi (37 seconds)
4th Match America True wins against Team Dennis Conner (30 seconds)
5th Match AmericaOne wins against Abracadabra 2000 (3 minutes 15 seconds)
NOT RACING Young Australia 2000

RESULTS AFTER DAY TWO OF ROUND ROBIN 3 (9 points per win)
64 pts - ITA 48 (Luna Rossa)
54 pts - USA 49 (AmericaOne)
47,5 pts - JPN 52 (Idaten)
47 pts - USA 51 (America True)
45,5 pts - USA 55 (Stars & Stripes)
25 pts - USA 50 (Abracadabra 2000)
24 pts - USA 58 (Young America)
26 pts - ESP 47 (Bravo Espana)
14 pts - FRA 46 (6eme Sens)
9 pts - AUS 31 (Young Australia 2000)*
8 pts - SUI 59 (be hAPpy)
* Young Australia 2000 has sailed one race less.

THE RACE COURSE
Windward-leeward format, 18.5 nautical miles; six legs, three upwind and three downwind; the first and the last legs are 3.25 miles long, the others 3.00 miles.

THE WEATHER TODAY
SW, 15-20 knots; the cloud influences the nature of the wind, sunny breaks having a destabilizing effect. Oscillations 10-20 degrees with swings up to 40 degrees.
Light showers in the morning. SW 0.5-1.0 metres.

THE RACING TOMORROW - RACE 3 of Round Robin 3
1st Match Team Dennis Conner vs Nippon Challenge
2nd Match Le Defi vs Abracadabra 2000
3rd Match AmericaOne vs Young Australia 2000
4th Match Spanish Challenge vs America True
5th Match Young America vs FAST2000
NOT RACING Prada Challenge

THE WEATHER TODAY
SW winds, 15 knots. Mainly sunny.


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