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Road to America's Cup 2000

Kiwis Send Signal, Beat Brits in First Mini-America's Cup

AUCKLAND, New Zealand (April 6, 1997) — It was an exhibition regatta. But powerful Team New Zealand, led by Russell Coutts, signalled its resolve to retain to the America's Cup, which it won in 1995.

The Kiwis scuttled Britain's Royal Dorset Yacht Club, 4-1, in the best-of-seven final match of the mini-America's Cup regatta. The only race in the two-day series won by Chris Law and crew was one in which the Kiwis, leading at the time, had a spinnaker blow-out. The Brits skated past and hung on for the win.

Royal Dorset earned its berth in the final by beating three other teams representing Cup challengers New York Yacht Club, San Francisco Yacht Club and Société Grau-du-Roi-Port Camaraque of France. The St. Francis YC/AmericaOne challenge was not invited to this event.

The races were held on short, America's Cup-style courses with one-mile windward-leeward legs on Auckland's Waitemata Harbor, where local knowledge certainly contributed to the Kiwis' success. But when the action moves to the Hauraki Gulf in 2000 for the real thing, local knowledge is figured to play a key role, as well. The races were sailed in the closely matched IACC boats, NZL-10 and NZL-12 from New Zealand's 1992 campaign.

Sunday's racing, which closed out the three-event Road to America's Cup 2000 series for this year, was televised live in New Zealand.

The New Zealand America's Cup defense is scheduled to begin March 26, 2000. The challenger elimination series is expected to begin in November, 1999.

Potential challengers in the wings
To date, 11 yacht clubs from eight countries have challenged Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron for the Cup. At least four other groups have indicated an interest in challenging, including two from Australia (Syd Fischer and Iain Murray), Waikiki YC in Hawa|, and, most recently, an Italian-based effort having American Doug Peterson (New Zealand, 1995) and Argentinian German Frers (Italy, 1992) as designers, and which is negotiating the purchase of Bill Koch's IACC boats America³ and Mighty Mary.

The official deadline for filing a challenge was May 14, 1996, but RNZYS is accepting late challenges until the 14th of next month. However, the US$100,000 entry fee is doubled for the late filings.

For additional details, see the America's Cup Fact Sheet.


Road to America's Cup 2000

Kiwis, Brits Tied, 1-1, in Mini-America's Cup Final

AUCKLAND, New Zealand (April 5, 1997) — Team New Zealand and Britain's Royal Dorset Yacht Club split the first two races in the best-of-seven mini-America's Cup final today.

The races, sailed in 8 to 12 knots of breeze on Waitemata Harbor, were close. The Kiwi crew, led by 1995 America's Cup winner Russell Coutts, came from behind to take Race 1 by 20 seconds. But the Britons, with Chris Law at the helm, took advantage of a spinnaker blow-out aboard the New Zealand boat to win Race 2 by 21 seconds.

The racing was called off for the remainder of the day after a hydraulic ram failed on the British boat. It is scheduled to resume Sunday morning. The weather forecast calls for 20-knot westerlies, a definite change from the light air the competitors had to put up with early on.

The regatta, one of the Road to America's Cup 2000 events, is being sailed in the closely matched IACC yachts from New Zealand's 1992 campaign.


Road to America's Cup 2000

Royal Dorset to Meet Kiwis in Match Final

AUCKLAND, New Zealand (April 4, 1997) — The Brits will meet their distant Kiwi cousins in the final match of the mini-America's Cup regatta being held on Waitemata Harbor.

In final races of the challenger series Saturday morning, Britain's Royal Dorset Yacht Club defeated the Société Grau-du-Roi team from France, while the San Francisco YC crew played the spoiler, knocking out the team from New York YC.

Royal Dorset and New York were tied going into the final races. Had they both won, they would have had a sudden-death sail-off to determine which would earn the berth in the final match against Team New Zealand.

The best-of-seven match final was scheduled to begin Saturday afternoon and conclude on Sunday.

The five-day regatta is part of the Road to America's Cup 2000 series being staged by America's Cup defender Team New Zealand to promote interest in the coming America's Cup XXX and showcase the competitors who will be vying for the Auld Mug.

Final standings, challenger series:
1. Royal Dorset YC, England
2. New York YC, USA
3. San Francisco YC, USA
4. Société Grau-du-Roi, France
5-1
4-2
3-3
0-6


Road to America's Cup 2000

Royal Dorset, NYYC Tied in "Mini-Cup" Challenger Series

AUCKLAND, New Zealand (April 4, 1997) — With just one race remaining for each, Royal Dorset Yacht Club and New York Yacht Club are tied for first place in the challenger elimination series of the mini-America's Cup regatta being sailing on Auckland's Waitemata Harbor.

On Saturday, the British will take on the winless French team, while the New York squad takes on its West Coast counterpart from San Francisco YC. If both RDYC and NYYC win, they will compete in a sudden-death sail-off to determine which will meet host Team New Zealand in the best-of-seven final match this weekend.

In today's racing, the NYYC team, led by Ed Baird, won all three of its races, downing each of the other three competitors.

Royal Dorset, with Chris Law at the helm, defeated both the San Francisco and French crews, but lost a tight race to Baird after taking a penalty turn following a collision during a fierce gybing duel on the final run.

Current standings:
1. Royal Dorset YC, England
1. New York YC, USA
3. San Francisco YC, USA
4. Société Grau-du-Roi, France
4-1
4-1
2-3
0-5


Road to America's Cup 2000

Brits Up 2-0 in Mini-Cup Regatta

AUCKLAND, New Zealand (April 3, 1997) — Britain's Royal Dorset Yacht Club team won both its matches today to take the lead in the mini-America's Cup regatta being staged on Waitemata Harbor as part of New Zealand's Road to America's Cup 2000 series.

Led by veteran match-racer Chris Law, RDYC first beat the New York Yacht Club squad, then repeated the performance against the team representing San Francisco Yacht Club.

Racing was delayed several hours by a flat calm, but when the breeze filled in, the 14-knot wind and smooth seas made for near-perfect racing conditions.

In the first race, NYYC skipper Ed Baird was over the line early and Royal Dorset never looked back. In the second race, SFYC skipper Rod Davis won the start, but Law fought back to win by 24 seconds.

In the third race of the shortened schedule, NYYC beat the Société Grau-du-Roi-Port Camarque of France, after the French crew fouled its spinnaker during a takedown and lost about a minute while they tidied up the foredeck.

Yesterday, just two races were held due to light and shifty conditions. SFYC beat the French team, skippered by new-comer Bernard Mallaret, in both races. Sailing with Davis on the American squad is the venerable Buddy Melges, who led the America³ team to victory in the 1992 America's Cup in San Diego.

Friday's schedule calls for finishing the first round-robin and beginning the second. The winner of the challenger competition will face Team New Zealand in the final match this weekend. The St. Francis YC/AmericaOne challenge was not invited to participate in this event.

Current standings:
  • Royal Dorset YC, England
  • San Francisco YC, USA
  • New York YC, USA
  • Société Grau-du-Roi, France
  • 2-0
    2-1
    1-1
    0-3

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