AMERICAONE SUFFERS HEARTBREAKING LOSS
AUCKLAND, New Zealand, January 30, 2000 – AmericaOne, the San Francisco-based St. Francis Yacht Club’s America’s Cup 2000 challenger, lost its third race today against the Prada Challenge (ITA 45) despite leading the Italians throughout the race. Today’s conditions on the Hauraki Gulf ranged from bright sunshine to heavy rain and winds as the teams battled for a win. USA 61 was forced to retire from yesterday’s race due to damage inflicted on their mast in the high winds.
Following an initial weather delay, the start of Race 4 was signaled at 2:05 PM local time in 15 knots of wind. After a tame set of starting maneuvers, AmericaOne hit the line with a four second lead. The pair drag raced up the first leg with equal speed, AmericaOne used its starboard advantage, tacked to the mark and rounded eight seconds ahead of Prada at the first mark. The second leg proved to be a show stopper, as AmericaOne’s spinnaker exploded and Paul Cayard, at the helm of USA 61, attacked Francesco de Angelis, at the helm of ITA 45, with a series of hard luffs that sent them rounding up out of control. The remaining distance to the mark was sailed under headsail only. AmericaOne stayed in control on the remaining legs, covering Luna Rossa and maintaining a significant lead. In the last downwind leg to the finish, Prada closed in on AmericaOne’s six boatlength lead. In the final minutes, with both boats running neck and neck for the finish line, Luna Rossa gained an overlap to leeward and AmericaOne was penalized under Rule 11 for not keeping clear as the windward boat. AmericaOne crossed the finish in the lead, unable to complete its penalty turn, the point was awarded to Luna Rossa.
“The AmericaOne Team did an awesome job at recovering from yesterday’s mishap with our mast and taking note of some hard learned lessons in Race 3,” said AmericaOne Skipper Paul Cayard. “The team’s performance in today’s race really demonstrated our strengths. We know we sailed a great race and it was certainly one of those times when we thought the win was within our reach. Although we disagree with the call the umpires made shortly before the finish line, we have to live by it.”
During the Finals the challengers will race one race a day in a best-of-nine series. The first team to win five races will win the Louis Vuitton Cup. 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.
Finals/Race 4 Starting Line-Up: Curtis Blewett of Los Angeles, CA, bow; Ralf Steitz of Port Washington, NY, 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 Dr. Robert Hobbs of Connecticut.
Final Scores To Date:
Prada Challenge/ 3 points
AmericaOne / 1 point