SAILing: Mahaney's resilient display

The wind gods were playing tricks yesterday, shifting by 40 degrees off San Diego, but the all-round strength of the Pact '95 America's Cup defence trialist was a match for them in the final race of the Citizen Cup second round-robin against the all-woman crew of America3.

Having failed to leave Cubed's starting helmsman, Jennifer Isler, behind at the start, Kevin Mahaney let his lead of about four lengths evaporate as he took the right-hand side of the course before a breeze catapulted the women into a 10-length lead.

Olympic silver medallist Mahaney and the crew of Young America have consistently shown the ability to do what others find it so hard - come back from behind and overtake the boat in control. They reduced the gap on the second leg, only for the women to pull away again on the third, but were over a minute ahead by the end of the fourth, and with the dice rolling their way they won by 3min 2sec.

The Spanish were on the rampage again, Pedro Campos heading Russell Coutts to the first mark by 14 seconds. The Kiwis, too, have the ability to run down the opposition and had not been beaten on the water in 11 of the 12 races of the first two round-robin stages.

Yesterday the Kiwis shuffled their crew, bringing in Maury Leyland, a 24-year-old windsurfing champion. They also needed some agile footwork to get past the Spanish, but did so at the end of the fourth leg, pulling away for a 1 min 6sec lead.

Treading the rocky road again were the French. They dropped over a minute on the upwind first leg to Chris Dickson's Tag Heuer, then pulled back 47sec on the downwind second. On the final beat they took a slender lead, and promptly lost it.

CITIZEN CUP: Round Robin Two: Race 8: Team Dennis Conner bt America3 by 28sec. Race 9: Pact `95 bt America3 by 3min 2sec.

LOUIS VUITTON CUP: Round Robin Two: Race 6: Team New Zealand bt Tag Heuer (NZ) by 54sec; France 3 bt Bayona-Valencia by 22sec; oneAustralia bt Sydney '95 by 23sec.

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