AUCKLAND, New Zealand, January 11, 2000 – AmericaOne, the San Francisco-based St. Francis Yacht Club’s America’s Cup 2000 challenger, won its seventh match of the series against Italy’s Prada Challenge (ITA 45). Both teams favored for the Louis Vuitton Cup Finals endured an intense match on the racecourse in 14-15 knots of breeze and scattered whitecaps. As the match came down to precise teamwork and good tactics, today’s race was a testament that sailor’s skills can impact the outcome of racing on the Hauraki Gulf.
USA 61 and ITA 45 had an aggressive start with both boats starting on starboard tack. Once over the line, Prada tacked to port while Paul Cayard, at the helm of USA 61, followed covering ITA 45 to the right. AmericaOne tacked back onto starboard, benefiting from a considerable wind shift that positioned USA 61 nearly 50 meters ahead of ITA 45. As the distance between the two boats increased, USA 61 covered the competition up the beat and arrived at the weather mark 1m 8s ahead. AmericaOne continued to separate from Prada on the beats, ITA 45 gaining on the downwind legs. On the third beat, Prada began to close the gap and gained some distance after a long port tack drag race. ITA 45 crossed astern of USA 61 initiating a tacking duel to tighten up the distance. As the boats approached the third weather mark, ITA 45 overtook USA 61, rounding inside of AmericaOne and gaining a six second lead around the mark. The two teams accelerated down the run overlapping for an action packed finish. As the pair each held their course a total of eleven protests were exchanged and one penalty per boat was given; Prada for windward boat failing to keep clear, AmericaOne for failing to keep clear while overtaking from clear astern. De Angelis, at the helm of Luna Rossa, initiated a three gybe gybing duel in an attempt to work off a penalty. AmericaOne took control and crossed the finish line eight seconds ahead of the Italians.
“We made some mistakes which allowed the racing to get close. It’s nice to be able to learn from our mistakes and still come out with a victory,” commented AmericaOne Tactician John Kostecki.
During the Semi-Finals six challengers from four nations will race each other two times. The scoreboard from the previous rounds has been cleared, the winner receiving one point per race. Only two of the six teams will remain after the next ten races. Racing is scheduled to begin at 1:15 PM local time on a full-length America’s Cup course, three laps totaling 18.55-nautical miles windward-leeward format.
Semi-Finals/Race 8 Starting Line-Up: Greg Prussia of Oroville, CA, bow; Curtis Blewett of Los Angeles, CA, mid-bow; Bill Bates of San Diego, CA, mast/sewer; Josh Belsky of Hood River, OR, pit; Jim Nicholas of San Diego,CA, grinder; Phil Trinter of Lorain, OH, grinder; Matt Welling of Bay Shore, NY, grinder; David McClintock of Portsmouth, RI, upwind trim; Carter Perrin of Houston, TX, downwind trim; Paul Cayard of Kentfield, CA, helmsman; John Kostecki of Fairfax, CA, tactician; Gavin Brady of Annapolis, MD, strategist; Terry Hutchinson of Annapolis, MD, mainsheet; Morgan Larson of Capitola, CA, traveler; Sean Clarkson of Middletown, RI, main assist and Lexi Gahagan of Wilmington, DE, navigator. The 17th crew person was Stu Abraham.
Final Scores To Date:
AmericaOne / 7 points
Prada Challenge/ 5 points
Stars & Stripes / 4 points*
Nippon Challenge / 4 points
America True / 1 point
Le Defi Francais / 0.5 point
* International Jury has stripped one point from Stars & Stripes for breaching Article 19 of the Protocol.
Nippon Challenge beat America True – Delta 01:20
Stars & Stripes beat Le Defi Francais – Delta: 00:19
AmericaOne ‘s schedule for the remainder of the Semi-Finals is as follows: