Team Dennis Conner Defeats GBR Challenge
TEAM DENNIS CONNER DEFEATS GBR CHALLENGE IN OPENING LOUIS VUITTON CUP MATCH IN AUCKLAND
AUCKLAND, NZ, OCTOBER 1, 2002-Team Dennis Conner won its opening match of the America's Cup season in Auckland, New Zealand today, defeating Britain's GBR Challenge in a closely contested match.
The teams, two of nine international challengers for the America's Cup, were never more than 10 seconds apart on the six-leg windward-leeward course until the American boat Stars & Stripes pulled away at the finish.
Skippered by Ken Read of Newport, RI, Stars & Stripes flew the colors of the challenging New York Yacht Club as it beat the British boat by 20 seconds on the opening day of the four-month-long Louis Vuitton Cup series to decide the challenger for the America's Cup.
"We haven't sailed against another boat for over a month and it was great to get out there and start racing again," said Read. "The British crew did a nice job keeping their boat close but in the end we prevailed. We don't always make it pretty but somehow we figure a way to win and that's all that matters."
Racing started in a shifty seven knot southerly that clocked to the southwest and built in strength to 15 knots during the afternoon.
Stars & Stripes fought for and got the left side of the course at the start while their rival, Wight Lightning, split and sailed out to the right.
The British boat on the right-of-way starboard tack signaled a protest when they crossed tacks a few minutes later as the Americans narrowly passed ahead of Wight Lightning. On-the-water umpires disallowed the protest.
Read and his crew of America's Cup veterans fought off at least five determined attempts by the British sailors who are returning to America's Cup racing for the first time in 15 years.
At the turning mark leading to the final run to the finish, the Americans staved off Wight Lightning, which had pulled within six seconds. The boats were only half a length apart as they rounded the mark and set spinnakers.
The crew of Stars & Stripes today was: Vince Brun, Wally Henry, Peter Isler, and Bill Trenkle, from San Diego, CA; Chuck Brown, Jerry Kirby, Rob Myles, Ken Read and Tony Rey, from Newport, RI; Chris Kam, Stonington, CT; Rock Ferrigno, Fairfield, CT; Tom Whidden, Essex, CT; Mike Toppa, Fort Lauderdale, FL; Dave Calverley, Tampa, FL; Larry Mialik, Madison, WI and Terry Hutchinson, Annapolis, MD. The 17th man was Stars & Stripes supporter Richard Scruggs, Pascagoula, MS.
Team Dennis Conner and the New York Yacht Club have partnered to put forth the finest team of American designers, sailors, boat builders and shore side support to win America's Cup XXXI and return the America's Cup to the United States. The America's Cup season began today with a four-month challenger elimination series known as the Louis Vuitton Cup. The winner of the Louis Vuitton Cup will challenge Team New Zealand for the right to defend the America's Cup in a best of nine series starting on February 15, 2003.
Team Dennis Conner's platinum sponsor, Computer Associates International, Inc. (NYSE: CA) delivers the software that manages eBusiness. As the world's third largest enterprise software company, CA provides industry-leading integrated solutions through strategic partnerships and powerful brands such as Unicenter®, BrightStorT, eTrustT, CleverPathT, AdvantageT, Jasmine® and AllFusionT. With mission-critical software in security and storage, CA provides reliable, quality technology. For more information, visit www.ca.com.
Gold sponsors of the Team Dennis Conner America's Cup challenge include Citizen Watch Company (www.citizenwatch.com), proud maker of the new Eco-Drive Sailhawk, the official Stars & Stripes team watch, the ACE Group of Companies (www.acelimited.com), a premier global insurance and reinsurance organization and Airgas, Inc. (www.airgas.com), the largest U.S. distributor of industrial, medical and specialty gases, welding, safety and related products. With an integrated network of nearly 800 locations nationwide--including branches, retail stores, gas fill plants, specialty gas labs, production facilities and distribution centers--Airgas' national scale and strong local presence offer customers a competitive advantage
Team Dennis Conner's Silver sponsors are Nautica (www.nautica.com), the team 's official apparel sponsor and a leading global fashion and lifestyle company with products ranging from men's, women's and children's sportswear, denim and accessories to a complete home collection and Manugistics (www.manugistics.com), a leading software company that provides comprehensive solutions which enable companies to share inventory, pricing and planning information with customers and suppliers over the Internet.
Team Dennis Conner's Suppliers are 3M, Air New Zealand, Airgas, Airtech, APL Limited, Arc Second, Bathysphere Digital Media Services, Columbus Line, Digi International, Dupont, Earth Tech, Itronix, Lewmar Marine, McLube, Media Bin, Munters, Nautica Eyewear, New England Ropes, Newport Adhesives & Composites, Omnisonics, Pacer Technologies, Parker, Plastimo, Protector, Remy Amerique, Saucony, WiTango and Xygent.