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Paul Cayard and AmericaOne Win Steinlager Line 7 Title

Contenders from five current America's Cup teams, plus three other past Cup skippers are racing in Auckland, NZ, this week in the Steinlager Line 7 Cup match racing series. The ten-boat fleet comprises the strongest field of Cup players yet to be seen in the city where the Cup will be defended in a few short months. AmericaOne 's Paul Cayard reports on the latest sailing action from the Auckland waterfront:

Sailing News: March 28, 1999

AmericaOne finished very strong in this classic World Cup Match Racing regatta, beating Team New Zealand 3-1. This is probably the last time we will face the Kiwis before the Cup so it was a good way to leave things for the next 11 months.

Our team of John Kostecki, Sean Clarkson, Morgan Trubovich, Curtis Blewett and myself really found our stride in the last two days of the event, winning 6 of 7 races through the semi-finals and finals. We were very confident and crisp in our maneuvers. John did a great job of calling the shifts and playing the current on a venue similar to the one he and I grew up sailing on....San Francisco Bay. This is the second time that we have competed in this event and the second time we've won -- the other win being in 1996. Many of our America's Cup rivals were in the field, Ed Baird of New York (3rd), Francesco de Angelis of Italy (5th), and John Cutler of America True (9th) so it was nice to beat them as well as the Kiwis.

There are many pieces to the America's Cup puzzle; design, management, funding and sailing. Winning any regatta is always nice but what we are really focusing on is bringing our Cup home. In the big picture, this regatta caps off a six-month refresher course on match racing for me after winning the Whitbread Round the World Race. After focusing on ice bergs, low pressure systems and malnutrition, I needed to catch up with the ever evolving game of match racing. Last fall when I first re-entered the professional match racing circuit, I had some shocker results, the worst of my career. I had to eat a lot of humble pie to get back into the game as there is a group of sailors who do nothing but match race year round. I could have stayed away and excused myself from the effort. But it was the right thing to do and I am very happy with what we have done with our time. Match racing is a very specific discipline and a minimum threshold of competence is necessary to win the America's Cup. I am now comfortable in knowing that we are well above that threshold and that this piece of the puzzle is under control.

John and I are working very well now as a tactical team and our core crew of Curtis, Morgan, Sean and Josh are well oiled in the boat-handling mechanics associated with those tactics. This core group can now "infect" the rest of the 16-man crew on the Cup boat with the experience of the last six months.

I am on my favorite flight, Air New Zealand 002, that is the one that goes from Auckland to LAX. However, rather than turning north toward my home in San Francisco, I am carrying on to Detroit to give a speech on the technical side of the America's Cup for one of our Official Sponsors -- Hewlett-Packard. The audience is 500-plus technical people from the big three auto makers.

Bruce Nelson, AmericaOne 's lead naval architect, has helped me prepare for this talk which will showcase a lot of the work from our great technical team, 35-strong, who are putting so much into this campaign to win the Cup. Work from Hewlett-Packard, Telcordia Technologies, SAIC, Ford, Visteon, Boeing and United Technologies as well as many independents will be discussed to illustrate the complex and long technical challenge that lies behind those tough races that you see on TV for four months every three years.

Next racing for me is not for a while. I am back to dedicating my time to the all-important sponsorship search. I will endeavor to keep you updated regularly. Certainly other team members, like Morgan Larson/Kevin Hall in their Olympic campaign or John Kostecki who is off to his Volvo Round the World training program for six weeks, will post their stories here on our site, so stay tuned.

Thanks for your support! The Cup is definitely winnable for AmericaOne

Paul Cayard
AmericaOne

For more about this major match race series go to the Steinlager Line Seven Cup official web site. Also visit the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron site. For more in this series of reports, look at AmericaOne's Grand Prix Sailing News page.

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