Pact '95 rides out storm

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SAILING The cancellation of racing yesterday, due to big seas and the threat of heavy winds, could not have come at a better time for Kevin Mahaney and the crew of Pact '95, even though they had already had a three-day delay and managed only one race.

In the recent storms, their sail loft was wrecked, the boat was canted on one side in its cradle, punching holes in the carbon- fibre hull, and sails damaged by being blown up to a mile away.

Yet the boat was able eventually to put enough pressure on America3 to force a penalty that made certain of a win. "I don't think we are seeing any of the American boats coming close to Cup level yet," said the syndicate boss, John Marshall.

The race he is waiting for is today's rescheduled match-up between the two New Zealanders, Chris Dickson and Russell Coutts. "This will be the race of the opening series," he said.

AMERICA'S CUP (San Diego) Citizen Cup Defender Elimination Series first round: Pact '95 bt America3 by 37sec. Defender standings (after three race days): Pact '95 1 pt; America3 1; Stars & Stripes 1.