Sailing: Read wins classic match race

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DENNIS CONNER'S Stars & Stripes team dealt another blow to the New York Yacht Club's America's Cup ambitions yesterday when they defeated Young America by 27sec in the third round of the Louis Vuitton Cup.

Ken Read, at the helm of Stars & Stripes, took control even before the start, holding the Young America skipper, Ed Baird, at bay to start with a 31-second advantage. By the first mark, that lead had extended to over two minutes. It was on the second leg that the wind switched, allowing Young America to close the gap to just 32sec, and then to nine seconds at the third mark. However, Ken Read and tacticians Tom Whidden and Peter Holmberg, sailed a classic match race and eventually took the winning gun.

Stars & Stripes are now in fifth place against Young America's seventh, with the top six boats after this round making the cut into the semi-finals.

In the day's other race, America True, skippered by John Cutler, had a comfortable victory over James Spithill and his Young Australia crew.

Eleven challengers started the Louis Vuitton Cup in October, and the winner will face Team New Zealand in the America's Cup in February.