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Americas Cup - Winds Fickle For Match Racers


Shifts and light winds made a lottery out of Americas Cup challenger series match racing on Auckland's Hauraki Gulf yesterday.

Only three matches out of the five scheduled were completed due to the shifty and light winds on the Hauraki Gulf today, sixth day of the Louis Vuitton Cup Round Robin three.

Race 11 was sailed today, after being brought forward in order to allow Dennis Conner time to effect repairs on his boat (damaged before the race of 5 December) with minimum disruption to the racing calendar.

Nippon Challenge beat Luna Rossa by 3 minutes 13 seconds, AmericaOne won over the Spanish by almost 12 minutes and Abracadabra 2000 sailed alone around the course as the Swiss have officially retired for good from the competition.

The other teams were unable to complete the third leg of the course within the time limit (2 hours 25 minutes) and their races were abandoned, to be sailed later in the series.

The Race Committee fired the start to Luna Rossa ITA 48 and Idaten JPN 52 at 12.20local time in a 8 knots breeze. Peter Gilmour, skipper on the Japanese boat forced Francesco de Angelis, helmsman on Luna Rossa, outside the pin end of the line and started 20 seconds ahead with the Italians trailing behind.

During the first beat the wind kept shifting but Luna Rossa was unable to fill the gap and rounded the mark 2 minutes and 2 seconds behind Idaten. Both crews hoisted the gennakers and Luna Rossa, with a man up the mast looking for wind, managed to gain on his opponent, rounding the leeward mark 19 seconds behind.

Idaten, however, increased her lead again during the following beat upwind, rounding the mark 1 minute 32 seconds ahead of Luna Rossa. In the second downwind leg the wind turned again and then dropped completely leaving all the possible options open - at one point Luna Rossa found herself leading the Japanese. It was now a question of which boat of the two would catch first the "new" wind coming in from the shore. Idaten, which at the second leeward mark was leading by 12 minutes 22 seconds, got the wind first and flew over the finish line 3 minutes 13 seconds ahead of Luna Rossa.

Francesco de Angelis, skipper and helmsman of Luna Rossa, said: "Up to one minute before the start we were in an ideal position, with a good control over the Japanese. But then we pushed too much and Gilmour forced us out. We should have been a little more conservative."

With today's race team Prada dropped to third position on the overall results sheet with a total of 73 points, following AmericaOne (leading with at 81 points) and Nippon Challenge at 74,5 points.

Tomorrow Luna Rossa will not race, as per calendar. The following matches will be sailed tomorrow: Young America vs Stars and Stripes (re-sailed from 5 December) and Young Australia 2000 vs America True (race abandoned today). The match between Young America and Le Defi, abandoned today, will be re-sailed at the end of the Round.

The next scheduled race for Luna Rossa will be on Thursday 9 December against the Spanish (race 6 of Round Robin 3).

1st Match Abracadabra 2000 wins over FAST2000 (FAST2000 not racing)
2nd Match AmericaOne wins over Spanish Challenge (11 minutes 50 seconds)
3rd Match Nippon Challenge wins over Prada Challenge (3 minutes 13 seconds)
4th Match Le Defi vs Young America (race abandoned)
5th Match Young Australia 2000 vs America True (race abandoned)
NOT RACING Team Dennis Conner

81 pts - USA 49 (AmericaOne)
74,5 pts - JPN 52 (Idaten)
73 pts - ITA 48 (Luna Rossa)
65 pts - USA 51 (America True)**
45,5 pts - USA 55 (Stars & Stripes)*
44 pts - ESP 47 (Bravo Espana)
42 pts - USA 58 (Young America)**
34 pts - USA 50 (Abracadabra 2000)
32 pts - FRA 46 (6eme Sens)**
18 pts - AUS 31 (Young Australia 2000)**
8 pts - SUI 59 (be hAPpy)
*Stars & Stripes was not racing today.
**Race abandoned today.

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.

S-SW, 5-15 knots; random puffs will tend to be from the right. Many shift, up to 20-30 degrees. Mainly sunny. SW less than 0.5 metres.

Young America vs Stars & Stripes (race re-sailed from 5 December)
Young Australia 2000 vs America True (race abandoned today)

S winds, 10-15 knots. Sunny.

Article provided by: Prada's Press Centre.

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