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Italians Snatch Victory By A Second
Sydney Morning Herald
Tuesday April 21, 1992
SAN DIEGO, Tuesday: The Italian yacht Il Moro di Venezia scored a breathtaking win by one second over New Zealand to level the score at one race each in the America's Cup challenger elimination finals yesterday.
The race showed both boats have virtually equal speed in moderate wind and wave conditions. The winner-the first yacht to take five of the scheduled nine races-will belong to the crew who make fewer mistakes.
Through the earlier races, New Zealand, with its tandem keel, appeared to have the ability to point higher into the wind.
But now Il Moro, with its refined fin-bulb keel and meticulous preparation, is showing equal straight-line speed.
Il Moro, skippered by Paul Cayard, took advantage of the loss of manoeuvrability in the keel system of New Zealand, skippered by Rod Davis, and grabbed a winning lead on the second-last leg.
Before that, the two boats had never been more than two boat-lengths apart, with New Zealand's leading margins 5s, 8s, 9s, 9s and 12s around five marks.
Davis threw New Zealand into a slam dunk port tack to try to stop Il Moro breaking through, but it was a fraction too late and the boat did not respond quickly enough. Il Moro shot past to gain clear air and the lead.
Il Moro held on to win, the record showing a 1s margin but the reality, according to principal race officer Ken Brooke of Australia, 3m of spinnaker cloth.
"We we were in a really tough spot and it didn't work out for us," Davis said.
"The mistake was to do the slam dunk in the first place. The alternative was to keep going and set up on the left side, which might have been better."
Cayard said: "In the slam-dunk situation, Il Moro is pretty strong.
"It was a great race. I hope we have a lot more, not only for ourselves but the sport in general.
"Both teams had their ups and downs. That kept the race close, and we were fortunate enough to come out on top in those last few metres."
On the defenders course, America3 (Bill Koch) beat Stars & Stripes (Dennis Conner) by 1min 47s, gaining on every leg of the course after leading around the first mark by 9s.
CHALLENGERS (Louis Vuitton Cup): Il Moro di Venezia (P. Cayard, Italy) bt New Zealand (R. Davis) by 1s. Progress points: New Zealand 1, Il Moro di Venezia 1.
DEFENDERS: America3 (W. Koch) bt Stars & Stripes (D. Conner) by 1min 47s. Progress points: America3 2, Stars & Stripes 0.