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14 February 2002, 09:33 am
Team New Zealand Dominate whilst GBR Challenge Take First Bullet
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Americas Cup International Regatta
Auckland

Racing was delayed for several hours today as the forecast South Easterly failed to appear, and a North Easterly sea breeze filled in late in the afternoon to give light and patchy winds never exceeding 10 knots.
Two flights were run, which means that Round Robin One is finished and the first flight of Round Robin Two has been held. The last two flights of the second Round Robin will be held tomorrow.

OneWorld Challenge beat Victory Challenge by 32 seconds

One of the most exciting pre-starts with both boats approaching the pin end of the line, Jesper Bank's Victory Challenge to weather of the OneWorld Challenge. With not enough runway left for the time remaining, the pair luffed head to wind and over the line. When OneWorld bore away its stern made contact with the leeward side of the Swedish boat and OneWorld was penalised. The start gun went and the Swedes were over and went to sail around the pin end. The American boat didn't lay the pin and had to bear away and gybe to cross the line on port. On the way they closed the door on the Swedish boat but Bank forced a passage, collided, and was penalised. The two penalties cancelled each other and worse still the Swedish boat was now stopped on the water, whilst the American boat sailed away.

The Swedish boat caught up during the course of the race but never got close enough to threaten the Seattle entry.

Team New Zealand beat GBR Challenge by two minutes and six seconds

The much awaited match between GBR Challenge and the current America's Cup holders, Team New Zealand saw a strong battle in the pre-start resulting in the best start going to the British boat starting at the pin end with speed. Team New Zealand, to weather, had to tack away to the right and the pair sailed on split tacks for several minutes.

GBR Challenge didn't tack to cover and the Kiwis found some much stronger breeze to sail into a huge lead which was never really threatened again.

Team New Zealand beat Victory Challenge by one minute and four seconds

Dean Barker completely dominated the Swedish Challenge in the pre-start taking both boats over the start line early and holding the pair upwind of the line until well after the start gun was fired. The pair started more than three minutes after the start with the Victory Challenge boat trailing badly.

The Swedes stayed in touch closing the gap from time to time and staying competitive beside the vastly more experienced Kiwi team. The end of the final run saw a gybing match in light airs. The final winning margin not at all reflecting the spectacle of the match.

GBR Challenge beat OneWorld Challenge by five seconds

Another close pre-start resulted in a split tack start with the GBR Challenge heading off to the right. Several times during the first beat the pair came back at each other with the Americans deciding to keep the left hand side the first time before dipping behind the British boat on the second cross to take up the right hand side of the course.

Again they came back at each other, each time the British boat would bear away a bit to pass behind OneWorld Challenge. The Americans would tack and the British would be forced to the left again. On the third such occasion the Americans tacked a bit too late the British cried foul and the on the water umpires agreed and awarded a penalty against the Seattle Yacht Club boat.

At the top mark for the first time the race was really close, OneWorld Challenge rounding just 28 seconds ahead after a lucky last minute lift. On the run the pair split and GBR Challenge found better breeze on the left-hand side of the run to cross ahead two thirds of the way down the leg.

The race stayed close for the next lap but in the dying breeze at the end of the day it was the American boat that again found that there was better breeze on the left side of the run. The finish line came up first for the American boat but the slower GBR Challenge crossed the line ahead as the OneWorld Challenge was completing its penalty to lose by the smallest of margins.

Racing for the rest of Round Robin Two will resume on Friday. For live race commentary tomorrow visit www.louisvuittoncup.com

Louis Vuitton Media/ISAF Secretariat
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