Victory, Oracle, Alinghi Win Again
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AUCKLAND, New Zealand (AP) _ Victory, Oracle, Alinghi and Stars & Stripes demonstrated clear boatspeed advantages to win America’s Cup challenger quarterfinal races Friday on Auckland’s Hauraki Gulf on Friday.
Sweden’s Victory, Oracle of San Francisco and Alinghi of Switzerland hold 3-0 series leads and could sweep their best-of-seven quarterfinal matches Saturday on Hauraki Gulf.
New York’s Stars & Stripes leads Britain’s GBR Challenge 2-1.
In top-four matches Friday, Alinghi beat Prada of Italy by 8 seconds, duplicating the margin of its second-race win Thursday, and Oracle beat OneWorld of Seattle by 19 seconds, the largest margin in their three quarterfinal races.
Victory beat Le Defi of France by 1:12 _ that series remains the most clear cut of the quarterfinals _ and Stars & Stripes beat GBR by 2:10.
The Swiss yacht, navigated by biotech billionaire Ernesto Bertarelli, led around all marks and by a peak advantage by 29 seconds at the first windward rounding. Prada led briefly on the final beat when Alinghi seemed briefly unable to tack, but that lead was short-lived and the Swiss were ahead by 12 seconds at the last mark.
Victory and Stars & Stripes demonstrated clear-cut advantages and led around all five marks in their races with Le Defi and GBR. Victory’s largest lead was 1:19 at the final mark. Stars & Stripes gained on every leg, by up to 38 seconds, against its British rival.
OneWorld led Oracle around the first mark in their close contest, but Oracle had recovered the lead by the second mark and led by up to 41 seconds.