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Americas Cup - Prada Begins Climb Back To Top

LUNA ROSSA WINS AGAIN

Italy's Prada team is on its way to reclaiming the top spot in the Americas Cup challenger series. Prada's yacht Luna Rossa was beaten this week by AmericaOne. The first time the Italians had faulted since Dennis Conner's Stars & Stripes in round robin 2.

Thursday's match racing on Auckland's Hauraki Gulf was another of fickle winds and little puff leading to the Race Committe having to delay by almost three hours the matches on the Pacific course.

The race between Prada's Luna Rossa - ITA 48 and Spain's Bravo Espana - ESP 47 began with only six knots of wind from the north.

Luna Rossa's skipper, Francesco de Angelis, crossed the starting line at the pin end to leeward of Spanish skipper Luis Doreste.

For a few minutes the two yachts sailed together on the starboard tack, then Bravo Espana headed for the right side of the course; Torben Grael, tactician on Luna Rossa, decided to keep to the left letting his opponent go.

It was the right decision as the wind shifted to the left favouring the Italians, who gradually increased their lead. At the first windward mark, Luna Rossa was ahead by 1 minute 46 seconds.

Both crews hoisted the gennakers and throughout the rest of the race Luna Rossa, with a man up the mast looking for wind, kept a good control over his rival.

The following deltas were recorded: 2 minutes 5 seconds at the first leeward mark, 4 minutes 35 seconds at the end of the second beat, 3 minutes 31 seconds at the end of the second run, 5 minutes 3 seconds at the third and last windward mark. Francesco de Angelis and his crew crossed the finish line 5 minutes 29 seconds ahead of the Spanish.

In the other matches of the day the French won by over 4 minutes against Dennis Conner; AmericaOne beat Nippon Challenge by over 9 minutes, and Abracadabra 2000 defeated Young Australia 2000 by 1 minute 21 seconds. America True sailed the course alone as she was racing against FAST2000, the Swiss team who has officially withdrawn from the Louis Vuitton Cup.

Friday, Prada will sail against Young Australia 2000.

LATEST RACING RESULTS - Race 6 of Round Robin 3
1st Match Le Defi wins over Team Dennis Conner (4 minutes 3 seconds)
2nd Match America True wins over FAST2000 (FAST2000 not racing)
3rd Match AmericaOne wins over Nippon Challenge (9 minutes 8 seconds)
4th Match Prada Challenge wins over Spanish Challenge (5 minutes 29 seconds)
5th Match Abracadabra 2000 wins over Young Australia 2000 (1 minute 21 seconds)
NOT RACING Young America

RESULTS AFTER DAY EIGHT OF ROUND ROBIN 3 (9 points per win)
90 pts - USA 49 (AmericaOne)
83 pts - USA 51 (America True)
82 pts - ITA 48 (Luna Rossa)
74,5 pts - JPN 52 (Idaten)
54,5 pts - USA 55 (Stars & Stripes)
44 pts - ESP 47 (Bravo Espana)
43 pts - USA 50 (Abracadabra 2000)
42 pts - USA 58 (Young America)*
41 pts - FRA 46 (6eme Sens)*
18 pts - AUS 31 (Young Australia 2000)
8 pts - SUI 59 (be hAPpy)**
*One race abandoned, to be re-sailed at the end of RR3.
**FAST2000 has officially retired from the Louis Vuitton Cup.

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 YESTERDAY
Typical NE sea breeze day (1-8 knots); SW breeze might develop late in the afternoon. Sunny. No waves.

THE RACING TODAY - Race 7 of Round Robin 3
1st Match Nippon Challenge vs America True
2nd Match Prada Challenge vs Young Australia 2000
3rd Match FAST2000 vs Team Dennis Conner
4th Match Young America vs AmericaOne
5th Match Spanish Challenge vs Le Defi
NOT RACING Abracadabra 2000

THE WEATHER TODAY
NE sea breeze, possible SW in the afternoon. Mainly sunny.

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