AUCKLAND, New Zealand, January 2, 1999 – AmericaOne, the San Francisco-based St. Francis Yacht Club’s America’s Cup 2000 challenger, won its first race on opening day of the Louis Vuitton Cup Semi-Finals against Le Defi Francais (FRA 46) by 22s. Cayard and the AmericaOne Team debut USA 61 in her first competition around the track.
Wind conditions today ranged from 10-16 knots, whitecaps spotted the Gulf, and seas remained short and somewhat confused. As the five-minute gun sounded, Le Defi entered from the pin end and AmericaOne from the Committee Boat end. After an initial dial-up, AmericaOne Skipper Paul Cayard maneuvered into the controlling position and started at the favored pin end. Halfway up the first leg, USA 61 secured a three boat length lead. Towards the second windward leg, the AmericaOne Team found a big left-hand shift, which allowed the team to sail straight up the course on port. French Skipper Bertrand Pac