AUCKLAND, New Zealand (AP) _ Team New Zealand sailors tore off their shirts and formed a bucket brigade to save their America's Cup-winning boat from sinking in the Hauraki Gulf Monday.

Black Magic II began taking on water a few miles north of Rangitoto Island after her rudder broke.

The crew of the boat, one of the two in which New Zealand won the Cup in 1995, heard a bang and rushed below deck, finding themselves knee-deep in water.

Team New Zealand designer Tom Schnackenberg, who was on board, said it was all hands below deck to stop the boat from going under.

``The water was coming in pretty fast,'' he said. ``The boys took their shirts off and we were chucking them around the hole to try to plug it up.''

``We had the bucket brigade going and we were using our drink pump, which makes fresh water, to try to empty it out.''

The local Coast Guard came to the boat's rescue with three larger pumps and the Auckland police launch Deodar arrived with another.

``If we hadn't been able to stop the water coming in, we would have sunk pretty easily,'' Schnackenberg said. ``If the hull was weaker around the rudder we would have been in a lot more trouble.''

Black Magic II had been racing against Black Magic I when it hit trouble.

Once the seawater was drained, the yacht was towed back to the America's Cup village at the Viaduct Basin by Team New Zealand towboats.