AUCKLAND, New Zealand -- Seattle's OneWorld Challenge
navigated a day of protests and mishaps Saturday, remaining
unbeaten in challenger racing in the America's Cup.
OneWorld showed impressive speed against GBR Challenge, winning
in 3 minutes, 22 seconds. The British boat clipped OneWorld's stern
during pre-start maneuvering and a penalty was assessed.
"We learned that OneWorld really are a polished team,'' GBR
Challenge helmsman Andy Green said. "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
Stars & Stripes became the first American syndicate to lose,
finishing 33 seconds behind Victory of Sweden.
Racing was delayed Sunday when the wind dipped below the
benchmark 7 knots. Two of the previous six days of racing were lost
to wind higher than the upper limit of 19 knots.
With the loss to Victory on Saturday, Stars & Stripes dropped to
2-1. Victory and Oracle of San Francisco are the leaders at 2-0.
Stars & Stripes was scheduled to face Oracle on Sunday, while
OneWorld had a bye.
There were protests throughout the fleet Saturday 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, beating Le Defi of France. The French, who
trailed by more than 3 minutes approaching the finish, failed to
execute a penalty turn and were judged not to have finished.
Victory, 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.''