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Team Dennis Conner Takes 2-1 Lead


Team Dennis Conner Takes 2-1 Lead

15th November. Stars & Stripes today won the third race of the Quarter-final series, to take a 2-1 lead in the best of seven series. In a similar race to yesterday, the America’s Cup veterans established an early advantage and then protected their lead around the course to win by two minutes and ten seconds.

The race got underway on time, with the wind blowing 12 knots from 230 degrees. Wight Lightning entered from the port end of the line and entered into a dial-up with USA 77. After 90 seconds, with the boats sailing backwards together, USA 77 sailed off to the right hand side of the line. Stars & Stripes gybed, with GBR 70 reacting by tacking to protect the right hand side. Both boats sailed back to the line on starboard, Harrison’s men positioned to windward with ninety seconds to the gun. The teams bore away to kill some time, before heading up to cross the line. Team Dennis Conner crossed two seconds ahead of GBR 70, but the British had the advantage of the right hand side.

Off the line, USA 77 accelerated quicker than Wight Lightning to move slightly ahead. GBR 70 tacked off to the right hand side, with USA 77 holding on starboard tack for 45 seconds before following. As the teams sailed on port tack, a left hand shift benefited the American team to give USA 77 a two boat length lead. Nine minutes into the leg, GBR 70 tacked, but the American team were able to tack on top of the British and force them back to the left. As the wind increased to 15 knots, Stars & Stripes repeated the move to increase their lead over Harrison’s men and lead at the top mark by 24 seconds.

The wind continued to build, and although GBR 70 was able to sail lower on the run, the Americans increased their advantage to round the leeward mark 43 seconds ahead. The British team engaged USA 77 in a short tacking duel on the bottom of the second run, before a long port tack saw both boats in a drag race to the starboard layline. Conner’s men protected their lead to start the second run with a 48 second advantage.

The final three legs saw the British team try to threaten the Americans, but the experienced team defended to take the point and an early lead in the series.

Wight Lightning (GBR-70) Bow Matt Cornwell Mid Bow Mark Sheffield Mast George Skuodas Pit James Stagg Pit Runner Jonathan Taylor Trim upwind Ian Budgen Trim downwind Simon Fry Grinder Starboard Guy Reid Grinder Port Ian Weighell Mid Grinder Jim Turner Main Trimmer Chris Mason Navigator Jules Salter Aft Grinder Chris Main Strategist Andy Beadsworth Skipper Ian Walker Tactician Adrian Stead 17th Man Peter Harrison


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