Britain ready to make final push

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The Independent Online

Britain's America's Cup team had to come back from being 0-1 down overnight in the best of three semi-final against Team New Zealand to earn a place in the match race final of the Jubilee Regatta against the 2000 challenger, Prada.

The second British boat, GBR41, had been beaten 2-0 by Prada, and so joined TNZ in the petit final. Those best of threes are scheduled for today, but the prospect of a racing breeze looks less than certain.

The man who had been at the helm of NZL32 when she took the Cup from America, Russell Coutts, needs no more than a respectable result today to win the 12-Metre World Championship for his new Swiss challenge boss, Ernesto Bertarelli.

Three points separate the 1983 winner Australia II, in second, from third-placed Kiwi Magic. There had been a heavy, start line collision between Mike Slade's 92-foot Skandia Life Leopard and Hasso Plattner's 80-foot Morning Glory, but there were no reported injuries.

A meeting of the challengers for the next America's Cup in Auckland in 2002/2003 in Southampton tomorrow and Monday is expected to agree a new format for the Louis Vuitton Cup elimination series.

Britain is one of the 10 current challengers who would compete for eight quarter-final places after two rounds-robin beginning in early October. There would then be a semi-final and final series to find the sole challenger. There are proposals for a three-week break before starting the Cup matches in February. But there is still dis- agreement over the management of television coverage.

With less than 200 miles to the St Malo finish of the EDS Atlantic Challenge, there was still all to play for. Nick Moloney, skippering Ellen MacArthur's Kingfisher, had a seven-mile lead over Mike Golding in Ecover and was a further 10 miles ahead of Giovanni Soldini's Fila.

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