Coutts stays on even keel

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As foul weather claimed its 12th day out of 44 days of America's Cup racing since January, there was further analysis yesterday of the winning performance of Russell Coutts and Team New Zealand against John Bertrand's oneAustralia, writes Stuart Alexander from San Diego.

TNZ, looking more and more likely to win the Louis Vuitton Cup for the right to challenge, are having trouble talking down their obvious speed advantage. Against Bertrand, they seemed prepared to slug it out, rather than power through, purely for the sake of seeing how they would do in that situation.

The experiment was made more intriguing as Coutts was, not for the first time, so slow off the line. Pundits think this is an indication of more experiments with a tandem, twin-fin keel.

Coutts has yet to be beaten on the water in either of his two boats. While the loss of time between rounds caused by weather delays is hurting one-boat campaigns, like oneAustralia after the sinking of their newest boat, and Chris Dickson's Tag Heuer, the New Zealanders are pushing forward.

CITIZEN CUP Semi-finals Day two: Pact '95 bt Stars & Stripes, 28sec. Standings: 1 Pact '95 4pts; 2= Stars & Stripes, America3 1.

LOUIS VUITTON CUP Race three: Team New Zealand bt oneAustralia, 39sec; Tag Heuer bt Nippon Challenge, 58sec. Standings: 1 Team New Zealand, 3; 2 Tag Heuer, 2; 3 oneAustralia, 1; 4 Nippon Challenge, 0.