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Stars & Stripes Beats Britain 4-1 And Goes Forward



AUCKLAND, NZ, NOVEMBER 18, 2002–Stars & Stripes handed a resounding defeat to Britain’s Wight Lightning today, winning by 1 minute and 42 seconds and dashing the hopes of the first British America’s Cup contender in 15 years.

The third consecutive victory for the Team Dennis Conner boat wrapped up the best-of-seven Louis Vuitton Cup Quarter Finals match 4-1, against a strong British challenger.

The New York Yacht Club’s contender for the America’s Cup will now race either OneWorld from Seattle, WA, or Italy’s Luna Rossa, in the Quarter Finals Repechage starting on Saturday. The OneWorld Challenge has 24 hours to announce whether it will race Stars and Stripes, Luna Rossa or Victory Challenge.

Sailing their new boat Stars & Stripes USA-77 in its first race series, skipper Ken Read and the all-American crew led at all marks in all five races they sailed against the GBR Challenge. They lost their first race on a contested umpire penalty.

“It’s obvious that our new boat has given us a new lease on life and, what’s more we now have the confidence in its capabilities to take full advantage,” said Read. “From our pre-start boat handling and maneuvering, to straight-line boat speed to Terry Hutchinson’s excellent calls on the wind shifts, it is all clicking. However, we really haven’t accomplished anything yet. We still have a long way to go before we hoist that Cup over our heads.”

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It took two tries to get today’s race started. The Race Committee abandoned the first start just seconds before the gun, but not before Read had spun Stars & Stripes around and caught opposing skipper Ian Walker dead in the water as the American boat closed on the right-of-way starboard tack. As the umpires imposed a penalty on the British boat, the Race Committee abandoned the start to reorient the starting line.

With southerly winds at 16 knots, the Stars & Stripes afterguard members repeated their pre-race dominance, engaging the British in two dial-ups as they protected the favored right-hand side of the course before showing the way across the line at the gun with a 21-yard lead worth four seconds.

As the shifty southerly phased to the southwest and built to an average 22 knots, Stars & Stripes extended her lead on all but two legs of the six-leg course on the Hauraki Gulf. Both boats overcame gear problems, with Stars & Stripes replacing a broken jib sheet on the second windward leg and Wight Lightning struggling with her spinnaker during a hoist at the second weather mark. Stars & Stripes’ lead at the finish was 625 yards.

In the other Quarter Finals race today, Sweden’s Orm defeated France’s Le Défi by 2 minutes 34 seconds to eliminate the French boat from competition. Scores in the best-of-seven Quarter Finals are: Alinghi 4-0 vs Luna Rossa 0-4; USA-76 4-0 vs OneWorld 0-4; Stars & Stripes 4-1 vs Wight Lightning 1-4; Orm 4-1 vs Le Défi 1-4.

Crewing on Stars & Stripes today were: Wally Henry, Peter Isler, Ben Mitchell, and Bill Trenkle from San Diego, CA; Chuck Brown, Jerry Kirby, Rob Myles, Ken Read and Tony Rey, from Newport, RI; Rock Ferrigno, Fairfield, CT; Chris Kam, Stonington, CT; Tom Whidden, Essex, CT; Terry Hutchinson and Andrew Scott, Annapolis, MD; Mike Toppa, Ft. Lauderdale, FL and Dave Calverley, Tampa, FL. The 17th man was Avery Whidden, Stars & Stripes supporter.

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 on October 1, 2002 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®, BrightStor™, eTrust™, CleverPath™, Advantage™, Jasmine® and AllFusion™. 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, 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 and Bugatti (www.bugatti-cars.de), a legendary name in the automobile industry. The Bugatti EB 16.4 Veyron is the newest product in the Bugatti family and boasts a top speed of 406 km/h and the ability to accelerate from a standstill to 300 km/h in under 14 seconds. The Bugatti EB 16.4 Veyron will be introduced in the United States during a special tour with Team Dennis Conner next year.

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, 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 and Viagra (www.viagra.com). Discovered and developed by Pfizer, Viagra is the breakthrough oral treatment for erectile dysfunction that has been found to be effective and well tolerated in over 100 completed and ongoing clinical studies. Viagra has been approved by regulatory authorities in 119 countries around the world and is among the most widely prescribed medications, with over 120 million prescriptions written for more than 20 million men.

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 Medical, Pacer Technologies, Parker, Plastimo, Protector, Remy Amerique, Saucony, WiTango and Xygent.


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