YOUNG AMERICA SUFFERES TERRIBLE STRUCTURAL FAILURE TO USA 53
by Selwyn Manning
It was a dramatic day for Young America in today's Americas Cup challenger races off the coast of Auckland.
The yacht was leading in its race against the Japanese Nippon Challenge. But then catastrophy struck.
At 26 seconds in front of its opponent, and at the second leeward mark, Young America ripped apart after ploughing into a freak wave.
The boat suddenly bent in two just behind the mast. The yacht bent upward at each end and took on a banana boat shape.
The crew dived into the sea and swam to safety. Two team members returned to the yacht and salvaged sails in the hull and other equipment. A tow-line was fixed and the boat has now been towed to the security of the Americas Cup Village at Auckland Harbour.
Today's incident was like a replay to the sinking of One Australia in 1995 when the Australian challenger broke in two off San Diego and sank in less than 30 seconds.
The weather in Auckland today began with moderate seas: a northerly wind of 13 knots average and moderate swell of just over one metre. The wind increased during racing to around 20 knots.
In other races, Luna Rossa continued on her winning streat, beating Young Australia 2000. This race proved insightful as the Australian challenge sailed its revamped and remodelled Yacht AUSTRALIA 31.
James Spithill, the 20-year old Australian skipper, won the start by 19 seconds. In the first beat Luna Rossa filled the gap and overtook her rival rounding the first mark with a lead of 45 seconds.
Luna Rossa's Francesco de Angelis kept the lead throughout the rest of the race crossing the finish 3 minutes and 34 seconds ahead.
We are now waiting for the official press conference and the decisions of the International Jury regarding the racing schedule for the next few days.
RESULTS OF TODAY - RACE 3 of Round Robin
1st Match Spanish Challenge wins over Le Defi (19 seconds)
2nd Match AmericaOne wins over FAST2000 (3 minutes 29 seconds)
3rd Match Abracadabra 2000 wins over Team Dennis Conner (3 seconds)
4th Match Prada Challenge wins over Young Australia 2000 (3 minutes 34 seconds)
5th Match Nippon Challenge wins over Young America (Young America retires from the race)
NOT RACING America True
RESULTS AFTER DAY THREE OF ROUND ROBIN 2 (4 points
22 pts - ITA 45 (Luna Rossa)
16 pts - USA 53 (Young America)
16 pts - USA 49 (AmericaOne)
13,5 pts - JPN 44 (Asura)
10 pts - USA 51 (America True)*
9 pts - ESP 47 (Bravo Espana)
8,5 pts - USA 55 (Stars & Stripes)
8 pts - USA 54 (Abracadabra 2000)
6 pts - FRA 46 (6eme Sens)
4 pts - SUI 59 (be hAPpy)
1 pt - AUS 31 (Young Australia 2000)
*America True was not racing today.
N, 13-22 knots. Mostly cloudy with a few showers, especially in the afternoon.
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.