Sailing: Beadsworth's flier cannot stop Prada
Friday 11 October 2002
Despite making a better start with a new starting helmsman, GBR Challenge lost their fourth race out of five in the first round-robin series in the Louis Vuitton Cup yesterday. The Italian boat, Prada, won by 22sec after securing an early advantage.
With Andy Beadsworth taking over from Andy Green and making his debut as an America's Cup starting helmsman, all eyes were on the start manoeuvres. Beadsworth achieved what he wanted, hitting the line at speed on the right-hand side of the course, a second ahead of Rod Davis.
Beadsworth handed over to the skipper, Ian Walker, and Davis did the same to Francesco de Angelis, and both camps were convinced that they would be favoured on their respective sides of the three-mile upwind leg. A breeze which, after a two-hour delay, had kicked in magnificently at between 13 to 17 knots helped both boats, but, approaching the first turning mark, fortune favoured the Italians and they rolled over the top of the British boat, which was desperately trying to make the best of coming back across to the left.
That was the defining moment of the race. It was close again, at times, going down the first spinnaker run, but Prada always had enough speed to fend off the pressure exerted, not least by some very tidy crew work, from the British boat. From then on, they controlled the race.
In other races, the American boat, Oracle, defeated France's Le Defi Areva by 2min 52sec. Sweden's Victory Challenge, against whom GBR line up today, managed to keep OneWorld's advantage down to 59sec, and the Swiss team, Alinghi, beat Dennis Conner's Stars & Stripes by 70sec.
LOUIS VUITTON CUP (Auckland): OneWorld (US) bt Victory (Swe) by 59sec; Alinghi (Swit) bt Stars & Stripes (US) 1min 10sec; Prada (It) bt GBR Challenge (GB) 22sec; Oracle BMW (US) bt Le Defi Areva (Fr) 2min 52sec. Standings: 1 Alinghi 5pts; 2= OneWorld 4*; 2= Oracle 4; 4= Victory Challenge 3; 4= Prada 3; 6 Stars & Stripes 2; 7 GBR Challenge 1; 8= Le Defi 0; 8= Mascalzone Latino 0.
*OneWorld deducted one point
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