New Zealand Wins Third America's Cup Challenger Race

by
Reuters
Emirates Team New Zealand breezed into the finish to win the fourth race of the America's Cup challenger series on Wednesday, giving the heavily favored Kiwis a 3-1 lead over Italy's Luna Rossa Challenge.

LuLuna Rossa Challenge sails during the first race of Round 5 of the Louis Vuitton Cup, the America's Cup Challenger Series on San Francisco Bay

Emirates Team New Zealand breezed into the finish to win the fourth race of the America's Cup challenger series on Wednesday, giving the heavily favored Kiwis a 3-1 lead over Italy's Luna Rossa Challenge.

It was the first race of the series on San Francisco Bay in which both high-tech 72-foot (22-meter) catamarans finished without one suffering a disabling mechanical breakdown. But Italy trailed New Zealand by 2 minutes, 17 seconds, so far behind that it barely looked like a contest.

The competition for the Louis Vuitton Cup was so uneventful a commentator asked New Zealand skipper Dean Barker if he saw his crew's race of under 26 minutes as perfect.

"I thought the guys did a really, really nice job all the way around," Barker responded. "We know we're going to have to keep doing it and keep improving to stay in the competition."

They also must keep their high-speed yachts in shape. Mechanical breakdowns - highlighted with the appearance of glue guns and hacksaws at the starting line - have plagued the series, amplifying concerns about the fragility of the double-hulled boats being used in this year's version of the quest for the world's oldest sporting trophy.

Last week, in three consecutive races one of the competitors was forced to stop, handing a victory to the team that managed to cross the finish line.

The winner of the Louis Vuitton Cup will sail against defending America's Cup champion Oracle Team USA next month.

A second race was scheduled on the windy San Francisco Bay for Wednesday afternoon.