INDEPENDENT NEWS

Four Nil To New Zealand

Published: Wed 1 Mar 2000 04:06 PM
A disastrous decision early on by Prada in race four of the America’s Cup meant the Italians ended up the giving the race to New Zealand - a fitting 38th birthday present for Kiwi skipper Russell Coutts.
Racing in seven to eight knots, Prada lost an early advantage to team New Zealand after race start.
Slightly in front crossing the starting line the Italians made a tactical blunder in the first leg allowing the Kiwis to cross to the more favourable right-hand-side where the breeze was coming from.
This unfortunate decision lost Prada vital ground, and on the first leg and Prada ended up trailing Team New Zealand by 45 seconds at the first mark.
Team New Zealand’s problems with a broken winch along with a slight shift in the wind to the left allowed Prada to gain some valuable time on Team New Zealand on the trip downwind to the second mark.
More active than in previous races, Prada attempted to attack Team New Zealand by trapping black magic in its wind shadow.
But New Zealand’s strong defence gave little away to Prada and they crossed the second mark still thirty nine seconds in front of Luna Rosa.
The gap continued to widen with Team New Zealand leading by over a minute and thirty seconds for the next three consecutive marks.
On the final downwind leg Prada gained some ground temporarily when burst of high pressure pushed them towards the finish, but not enough to stop Black Magic cruising to a final win of 1 minute 49 seconds.
Team New Zealand now only needs to win one more race to regain the America's Cup for the second time.

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