FREMANTLE, Australia — Great Britain's White Crusader edged Canada II by 0.29 of a second Tuesday for the smallest winning margin in 135 years of America's Cup racing.
Skipper Harold Cudmore trailed Terry Neilson's 12-meter around every mark but slipped ahead with a false tack near the finish line. The Canadians, intending to cover, fell for the fake and tacked away. Cudmore continued straight on and, maintaining his speed, sailed into the lead and won by less than a meter.
The winds on that course were a light 4 knots building to 17 after the committee shortened the course from 24.5 to 18 miles. The other course sailed the full eight legs.
New Zealand remained tied for first place with America II by clobbering Eagle by 3 minutes 42 seconds, and America II finished 1:30 ahead of the luckless Italian syndicate Azzurra.
Rod Davis on Eagle won the start from the once-beaten Chris Dickson on KZ7, despite having to replace a ripped headsail four minutes before the gun. Dickson went ahead, but Davis was trailing by only 35 seconds when he failed to lay the second windward mark, had to tack twice and rounded 2:14 behind.
Tom Blackaller, who bragged of his radical fore-and-aft-ruddered USA yacht's speed after defeating Dennis Conner on Sunday, was humbled by Marc Pajot's French Kiss, which picked up a wind shift on the first leg to pull 2:25 ahead and held on for a 44-second win.
Italia stayed in fourth with a 50-second comeback victory over Heart of America, skippered by Buddy Melges in his boat's most impressive performance. Melges led on the first two legs and was competitive throughout.
Conner, who had lost two in a row, had no trouble disposing of hapless Challenge France by 4:51.
America's Cup Notes
Daily reports from Fremantle are aired on Orange County radio station KOCM (103.1 fm) at 11:30 a.m., 5:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m.