Wed, Oct 05, 2005 - Page 20 News List

Bad weather wreaks havoc at America's Cup regatta

SAILINGRain and gusty winds off Sicily presented a challenge at the latest warmup for the 2007 America's Cup, with the Swiss defender `Alinghi' maintaining its lead

AP , TRAPANI, SICILY

The Swiss team Alinghi take part in the Louis Vuitton Act 8 of the 32nd America's Cup on Monday off the Sicilian port town of Trapani, Italy. Alinghi beat New Zealand by 1 minute and 43 seconds.

PHOTO: AP

Stormy weather rolled into the water off Trapani on Monday and wreaked havoc with the latest America's Cup warmup regatta.

The wind ranged from 12 to 17 knots with gusts in excess of 20 knots.

The first victims of the weather change were the South Africans, who were unable to get their mainsail up in time for their race against Swiss defender Alinghi.

Alinghi also won its second race, using an excellent start over Emirates Team New Zealand to finish 1 minute, 43 second ahead.

Alinghi has now won all nine of its match-races in the Louis Vuitton Act 8. BMW Oracle of the US and Italy's Luna Rossa are next with eight points each, followed by Emirates with seven.

The second flight of races was delayed to allow the stormy weather to pass through, but it was still marred by rain as the wind eased late in the afternoon.

Another weather victim was France's K-Challenge.

During a close race with Sweden's Victory Challenge, the French boat's head-sail fell to the deck and a man had to go up the mast for repairs. This allowed the Swedes to sail away to a comfortable victory by 2:59.

In the second series of the day, K-Challenge pulled out of its race against Luna Rossa after being penalized just following the start. K-Challenge later reported structural problems and made an early decision to head back in for overnight repairs in a bid to ready for yesterday's matches.

The Louis Vuitton Acts are a series of 14 regattas that started last year as a prelude to the 2007 America's Cup, which will be held off Valencia, Spain.

The results of the Acts will help seed the competition for the 2007 challenger trials.

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