AMERICAONE SUFFERS FIRST LOSS OF SEMI-FINALS DUE T
AUCKLAND, New Zealand, January 3, 2000 – AmericaOne, the San Francisco-based St. Francis Yacht Club’s America’s Cup 2000 challenger, suffered its first loss today in the match against John Cutler and the America True Team (USA 51) by 2m 23s. In day ridden with heavy weather and wind conditions, fortune changed hands as leads were lost and gained in nearly every match of the Louis Vuitton Cup Semi-Finals, AmericaOne was no exception.
After an initial postponement called by the Race Committee, AmericaOne was off to a good start as it surged over the line to leeward hooking America True. At the onset of the race AmericaOne’s Skipper Paul Cayard covered USA 51 keeping the opposition close. On the first windward leg, AmericaOne extended its lead on port tack by pointing closer to the wind. After rounding the first downwind mark, a crossed halyard led to a delayed spinnaker set for the team on USA 61. Strong winds kept the gybing angles small, forcing the pair to sail almost directly to the mark, boat handling remained difficult and competition close. Going up the second beat, Cayard and the AmericaOne Team fought furiously to push Cutler over the layline. With a 27-second delta at the second leeward mark, AmericaOne was comfortably in control. The spinnaker on America True ripped in two, breaking the spinnaker pole in the process. As a result, AmericaOne rounded the last leeward mark a minute ahead of America True but moments later, USA 61 suffered a mishap of its own when the jib halyard broke. As the jib came down, it tore the headfoil (sleeve on the forestay into which the leading edge of the jib is slotted). This made it impossible to hoist a new jib forthe balance of the race.
“We were very encouraged by USA 61’s speed and handling in the rough conditions on the course today,” explained AmericaOne Skipper Paul Cayard. “We had a comfortable lead and felt we were in control when we experienced mechanical problems. It’s frustrating to lead for two-thirds of the race and then lose due to gear failure.”
During the Semi-Finals 6 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 1 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; Phil Trinter of Lorain, OH, grinder; Jim Nicholas of San Diego, CA, grinder; Mike Howard of Malibu, CA, 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 Mr. Mal Thompson of Auckland, NZ.
Final Scores To Date:
Stars & Stripes / 2 points
AmericaOne / 1 point
America True / 1 point
Nippon Challenge / 1 point
Prada Challenge/1 point
Le Defi Francais / 0 points
Nippon beat Le Defi – Delta: 00:38
Stars & Stripes beat Prada – Delta 01:07
AmericaOne’s schedule for the remainder of the Semi-Finals is as follows:
Tuesday, January 4 – (Race 3) Prada Challenge
Wednesday, January 5 – (Race 4) Nippon Challenge
Thursday, January 6 – (Race 5) Stars & Stripes
Friday, January 7 – (Race 6) Le Defi Francais
Saturday, January 8 – (Race 7) America True
Sunday, January 9 – (Race 8) Prada Challenge
Monday, January 10 – (Race 9) Nippon Challenge
Tuesday, January 11 – (Race 10) Stars & Stripes