Keel keeps Conner afloat

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The Independent Online

Snatching a little triumph from moderate disaster Dennis Conner kept his America's Cup defence bid alive by defeating the 15 women and one man on board America3 yesterday, writes Stuart Alexander from San Diego.

But he faces a strong protest from Cubed about being authorised to change his keel mid-way through the semi-final trial when neck and neck with Cubed. Conner's reason was that the damage which caused him to pull out of his race on Sunday against Pact '95 was irreparable. Cubed are not just unsympathetic. If the America's Cup jury does not back them, they will seek another arena in which to appeal.

However, earlier in the day Cubed's skipper Leslie Egnot had said: "The change doesn't matter. Just the fact that he's getting on the water I think is great so we can have a race."

For Chris Dickson, heading for his second defeat in the Louis Vuitton Cup semi-final at the hands of oneAustralia made more likely John Bertrand's progress to the final with Team New Zealand, especially as TNZ are pulling out of their last three races.

CITIZEN CUP Semi-final Day 9: Stars & Stripes bt America3, 1min 29sec. Standings: 1 Pact '95, 6 pts; 2 Stars & Stripes, 3; 3 America3, 2.

LOUIS VUITTON CUP Semi-final Race 8: Team New Zealand bt Nippon Challenge, 3:45.