AmericaOne Report 11/09/99
Upset win for Swiss; Prada gets a lucky break
(11-08) 00:53 EST AUCKLAND, New Zealand (AP) -- Prada took advantage of its opponent's equipment trouble to remain unbeaten in the challenger series for the America's Cup, while two other teams had upset wins Monday.
Racing in the second of three round-robins resumed Monday after a 24-hour postponement because of bad weather. Eleven syndicates are competing in the Louis Vuitton Cup regatta to decide who takes on defender Team New Zealand next year for yachting's most-prized trophy.
The Swiss team had their first win of the competition, defeating Hawaii's Abracadabra, and in a battle between two boats from San Francisco, Dawn Riley's America True had a heartening victory over Paul Cayard's better-financed AmericaOne.
In good sailing conditions of winds around 15 knots and a light choppy sea, Nippon skipper Peter Gilmour was characteristically aggressive and beat Prada at the start.
Gilmour built a commanding lead of around three boat-lengths for the first half of the race when, shortly before the second windward turn, a titanium ring fixing the mainsail to the boom snapped.
Nippon withdrew, handing an easy victory to Prada, which is 12-0 and has 18 points.
``We're very disappointed,'' Gilmour said. ``They deserved to win today, even though things were heavily stacked against them. The race in its entirety is what you have to be able to complete, and we obviously have to work on that.''
Switzerland's Fast 2000, whose highly unusual two-keel boat design has been blamed for a string of steering problems and breakages, had a tight race but led Abracadabra before the Americans withdrew on the last leg.
Swiss skipper Marc Pajot said he was thrilled with the win after a difficult month learning to steer the double keel and rudder system.
``We found the owner's manual,'' team spokesman Constantin Capsis joked.
America True's form has been improving and victory over AmericaOne by 1 minute, 29 seconds may indicate reconfiguring work done after the first round-robin is paying off.
In other races, Young America defeated the Spanish challenge by 1:23, and Le Defi Francais defeated Young Australia by 1:43. Stars and Stripes had a bye.
With wins in the second round-robin worth four points compared to the first's one point, Monday's results bumped the Swiss past the French and Australian teams. New York's Young America now leads AmericaOne 16-12.
After the three round-robins, a finals series between the six best challenger teams will decide who will meet New Zealand in the America's Cup regatta starting on Feb. 19.
AmericaOne is one of the leading challengers for America's Cup 2000. The team is currently competing in Auckland, New Zealand for the Louis Vuitton Cup and the right to challenge New Zealand for the America's Cup in February 2000. AmericaOne has built two boats based on 4 years of technology development and innovation. The top level technology partners are Hewlett-Packard Company, Telcordia Technologies/SAIC, Ford Motor Company/Visteon and United Technologies Corp. AmericaOne represents San Francisco's St. Francis Yacht Club. To learn more about AmericaOne visit: www.americaone.org.
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