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OneWorld Unbeaten at America’s Cup

October 5, 2002

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AUCKLAND, New Zealand (AP) _ Seattle’s OneWorld Challenge navigated a day of protests and mishaps Saturday, remaining unbeaten in challenger racing at the America’s Cup.

Stars & Stripes of New York became the first American syndicate to lose a race in the regatta, finishing 33 seconds behind Victory of Sweden.

Stars and Stripes dropped to 2-1. Victory, which had a bye on the first day, is 2-0. Oracle of San Francisco is also 2-0 and remains tied for the lead after a bye Saturday.

The were protests throughout the fleet as racing was marred by breakdowns and collisions.

Alinghi of Switzerland was fined $10,000 for a breach of the regatta’s communications regulations. However, Alinghi was not penalized a point in its victory over Mascalzone Latino of Italy.

Defending Louis Vuitton Cup winner Prada of Italy got its first win in three races when it beat Le Defi of France. The French, who trailed by more than three minutes approaching the finish, failed to execute a penalty turn before the line and were judged not to have finished.

Victory Challenge of Sweden, competing in its first America’s Cup, beat Team Dennis Conner, representing the New York Yacht Club in choppy seas and winds that reached 22 knots.

Tom Whidden, tactician for Team Dennis Conner and a veteran of seven Cup campaigns, praised the Swedes.

``We had a lot of respect for the Victory Challenge today,″ Whidden said. ``They were very organized and everything on their boat looked good today.″

Against Alinghi, a rigging element failure in the pre-start left the Mascalzone team stuck behind the start line.

OneWorld showed impressive speed in its win over GBR Challenge.

The bow of the British boat clipped the stern of the Seattle challenger during tight pre-start maneuvering and a penalty was assessed.

``We learned that OneWorld really are a polished team,″ said British starting helmsman Andy Green. ``They’ve been in this America’s Cup game now for three or four years and they’re extremely good sailors. We felt that they were a little faster than us.″

Racing continues Sunday, with Mascalzone facing Victory Challenge, Prada vs. Alinghi, Le Defi vs. GBR Challenge and Stars & Stripes vs. Oracle. OneWorld has the bye.

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