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America's Cup Trials : Kookaburras Sail Back Into Command

October 26, 1986|From Staff and Wire Reports

FREMANTLE, Australia — The golden boats of the Kookaburra syndicate regained the upper hand in the America's Cup defender trials Saturday when backup skipper Peter Gilmour sailed Kookaburra II to an upset victory over Alan Bond's top boat, Australia IV, by 1 minute 17 seconds.

Both boats flew protest flags at the finish line, making the results provisional. The incident in question apparently took place 20 minutes after the start, but neither syndicate indicated the reason for the protest.

The wind was 10 to 16 knots, the sea smooth.

Australia IV (5-2), skippered by Colin Beashel, had sailed into a tie for first place Friday by defeating Kookaburra III (6-1) and its designer-skipper Iain Murray.

But Saturday, as Murray outsailed Australia III (3-4) by 1:58, Gilmour jumped ahead of Australia IV at the start and led at every mark. Beashel, mainsail trimmer aboard the victorious Australia II in 1983, applied pressure throughout the first five legs, never trailing by more than 30 seconds. But Gilmour sailed away when Australia IV had spinnaker problems on the last downwind leg.

Kookaburra II's record is also 5-2.

The upset set up a showdown between the two Kookaburras today. In their first meeting, Murray won by two seconds. Their rivalry makes it conceivable that both defender finalists in January could come from the same syndicate.

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