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Americas Cup - Prada Reclaims Top Position

Americas Cup - Prada Reclaims Top Position

Italy's Prada team has once again reclaims the top position in the Americas Cup challenger series.

Luna Rossa is leading the overall results with 109 points, having lost only 3 races out of 29 since the beginning of the Louis Vuitton Cup; America True is second (with 101 points) with 8 races lost out of 29; AmericaOne, with 8 losses, follows in third place (99 points).

Luna Rossa will complete the course on Monday alone (against FAST2000).

Prada's yacht, Luna Rossa - ITA 48, gained another 9 points on Sunday after beating the Hawaiian team Abracadabra 2000.

The win pushed Abracadabra out of contention from sailing in the Louis Vuitton Cup semi finals, and propelled Luna Rossa to the top. Only the top six match racing teams will compete in the semi finals which is scheduled to begin on January 2 2000.

Racing on Auckland's Hauraki Gulf on Sunday was not ideal. The weather was stormy, with heavy rain squalls over the race course accompanied by gusts of wind, patches of very light air and choppy seas.

The Race Committee had to postpone the starts by 20 minutes on the Atlantic course. Prada's skipper, Francesco de Angelis made skillful use of the conditions in his race against Abracadabra, but not before facing a competitive challenge from the Hawaian team.

The Italians crossed the start at the pin end, whilst Chris Larson, skipper of Abracadabra, was leading by 4 seconds at the Committee boat.

The wind decreased and shifted in favour of Abracadabra - USA 50, who gradually gained over Prada's Luna Rossa rounding the first windward mark 1 minute 22 seconds ahead.

Luna Rossa managed closed the gap on her opponent int he second leg, rounding the mark 35 seconds behind. In the third and last beat Luna Rossa chose to sail to the left of the course and gained 1 minute 46 seconds on her rival, leading at the windward mark by 1 minute 16 seconds.

In the final run Luna Rossa kept cool and controlled over Abracadabra and won the race by 1 minute 30 seconds.

Other matches:
Young America was defeated by America True (2 minutes 5 seconds).
The French of Le Defi beat Young Australia's young skipper James Spithill who inflicted a penalty on his rival during a tacking duel in the first beat but had to retire after ripping the mainsail during the following run.
Dennis Conner won over AmericaOne after an exciting duel, thus qualifying for the Semi-finals.
The Nippon Challenge sailed the course alone as her rival FAST2000 has officially withdrawn from the Louis Vuitton Cup.

Young America and Le Defi are now fighting for the final berth in the Semi-finals. If the French win on Monday against America True, Young America will be mathematically out of the competition; if, on the contrary, the French are defeated, the direct match between the two (Young America and Le Defi, scheduled on Tuesday 14 December) will decide who proceeds to the Semi-finals.

John Cutler, helmsman of America True said: It is possible, that tomorrow morning [Monday] we decide not to race as the weather forecast is bad, with winds of 25-30 knots gusting to 35. We have already qualified for the Semi-finals and we cannot risk, being a one boat campaign".

RACING RESULTS OF SUNDAY - Race 9 of Round Robin 3
1st Match Le Defi wins against Young Australia 2000 (Young Australia retires from the races)
2nd Match Prada Challenge wins against Abracadabra 2000 (1 minute 30 seconds)
3rd Match America True wins against Young America (2 minutes 5 seconds)
4th Match Nippon Challenge wins against FAST2000 (FAST2000 not racing)
5th Match Team Dennis Conner wins against AmericaOne (35 seconds)
NOT RACING Spanish Challenge

RESULTS AFTER DAY ELEVEN OF ROUND ROBIN 3 (9 points per win)
109 pts - ITA 48 (Luna Rossa)
101 pts - USA 51 (America True)
99 pts - USA 49 (AmericaOne)
92,5 pts - JPN 52 (Idaten)
81,5 pts - USA 55 (Stars & Stripes)
68 pts - FRA 46 (6eme Sens)*
51 pts - USA 58 (Young America)*
44 pts - ESP 47 (Bravo Espana)
43 pts - USA 50 (Abracadabra 2000)
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 SUNDAY
NW breeze, 10-15 knots. Cloudy with a few sunny breaks in the morning. Chance of a few showers late in the afternoon. Rain in the evening. NW swell building to 0.5-1.0 metres in the afternoon.

THE RACING MONDAY - Race 10 of Round Robin 3
1st Match America True vs Le Defi
2nd Match Team Dennis Conner vs Spanish Challenge
3rd Match FAST2000vs Prada Challenge
4th Match Abracadabra 2000 vs Nippon Challenge
5th Match Young Australia 2000 vs Young America
NOT RACING AmericaOne

THE WEATHER MONDAY
NW 15-20 knots. Cloudy with periods of rain. Becoming sunny from midday. Unsettled weather continues on Monday as another system moves through.

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