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SYNDICATES AT A GLANCE A PROGRESS REPORT : DEFENDERS : Team Dennis Conner

September 20, 1991|Rich Roberts

Yacht club: San Diego

Syndicate head: Dennis Conner

Skipper: Dennis Conner

Budget: $20 million

Boats: One.

Designers: Bruce Nelson, David Pedrick, Alberto Calderon, Chris Todter (coordinator).

IACC Worlds: Placed third, withdrew from semifinals.

Comment: Still hoping for second boat, if nothing more than trial horse for Stars & Stripes. Exploring options. May race one or two challengers in October series.

America-3

Yacht club: San Diego

Syndicate head: Bill Koch

Skipper-helmsmen: Bill Koch, Buddy Melges, Kimo Worthington.

Budget: $40 million

Boats: Two, after selling training boat back to French.

Designers: Doug Peterson, Jim Reichel, Jim Pugh, Heiner Meldner.

IACC Worlds: Placed sixth and tied for seventh (two boats).

Comment: After losing John Kostecki and Gary Jobson and losing series to French, 4-1, Koch may have decided he needed help. He strengthened his afterguard by hiring Worthington and tactician Dave Dellenbaugh. Latest boat Defiant reported to be significantly faster than Jayhawk, the "space" boat.

CHALLENGERS

Spirit of Australia

Yacht club: Darling Harbour

Syndicate head: Iain Murray

Skipper: Peter Gilmour

Boats: One. Launch scheduled Oct. 5.

Designer: Iain Murray

Budget: $12 million.

IACC Worlds: Did not compete.

Comment: Generally rated best of the one-boat challenges. Murray plans to sail boat at Sydney for three weeks, then ship to San Diego with ETA of late November. Crew is proven. Will be based in Mission Bay.

Australian Challenge

Yacht club: Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron

Syndicate head: Syd Fischer

Skipper: Unannounced.

Boats: One under construction.

Designer: Peter van Oossanen

Budget: $10 million.

IACC Worlds: Did not compete.

Comment: Fischer may have cooled on Colin Beashal (Australia IV in 1986-87) as helmsman. Hugh Treharne of Australia II (1983) fame has joined the team as navigator-tactician. Fischer will set up compound next to America-3.

Ass'n Pour L'America's Cup en France

Yacht club: Yacht Club de France-Sete

Syndicate head: Francois Giraudet (general manager)

Skipper: Marc Pajot.

Boats: Have two, building a third.

Designer: Phillippe Briand.

Budget: $30 million.

IACC Worlds: Tied for seventh.

Comment: Upgraded boat and defeated America-3, 4-1, in post-Worlds series, then took long vacation until newest boat arrives. May have passed Nippon as third-rated challenger behind Il Moro and New Zealand.

Il Moro di Venezia (Italy)

Yacht club: Compagnia Della Vela

Syndicate head: Raul Gardini

Skipper: Paul Cayard

Boats: Have four, building a fifth.

Designer: German Frers

Budget: Claiming only $40 million but nobody believes it.

IACC Worlds: Placed second and fourth in fleet racing, first and third in sailoffs.

Comment: Surviving family upheaval of Gardini's business empire. Montedison remains major sponsor, with $19 million plus cost of fifth boat budgeted through remainder of campaign. Re-organized by laying off 15% of staff (20 people). No changes at top. Resumed sailing month ago after summer vacation, testing sail plans with third and fourth boats.

Nippon Challenge (Japan)

Yacht club: Nippon Ocean Racing

Syndicate head: Tatsumitsu Yamasaki

Skipper: Chris Dickson.

Boats: Two sailing, third under construction.

Designer: NCAC Design Team

Budget: $40 million

IACC Worlds: Placed fifth in fleet racing, fourth in finals after Conner withdrew.

Comment: Chief designer "retired" after disappointing Worlds, when mast fell down. Front rudder discarded for third boat. Dickson believed to have emerged in stronger lead role overall. Kiwis, including Dickson, in so many key roles that question remains what face-saving role Japan's top sailor, Makoto Namba, will serve on final campaign boat.

Mercury Bay Club (New Zealand)

Yacht Club: Mercury Bay

Syndicate head: Sir Michael Fay

Skippers: David Barnes, Rod Davis, Russell Coutts.

Boats: Three built and delivered. Fourth under construction.

Designer: Bruce Farr

Budget: $35 million.

IACC Worlds: First in fleet racing, second in sailoffs.

Comment: Have maintained low profile since Worlds. Decisions due soon on arrangement of three top helmsmen in afterguard. Hired Wales' Eddie Warden-Owen, world's fifth-ranked match racer, as coach.

Red Star (Soviet Union)

Yacht club: Ocean Racing Club of Leningrad.

Syndicate head: Valentin Stepanov

Skippers: Guram Biganishvili, Sergei Borodinov.

Boats: First (aluminum) training boat built and should be sailing soon at Tallin on Baltic Sea. Second carbon-fiber boat under construction.

Designer: Oleg Larionov.

Budget: $10 million.

IACC Worlds: Did not compete.

Comment: Many questions remain, such as role of Soviet Yachting Federation, getting boat to San Diego amid political upheaval and even what flag they'll fly. But U.S. Coast Guard and Navy have agreed to allow boat into San Diego Bay and syndicate still planning to compete.

Desafio Espana Copa America

Yacht club: Monte Real Club de Yates de Bayona

Syndicate head: Carlos Fernandez de Henestrosa

Skippers: Pedro Campos, Antonio Gorostegui Ceballos (alt.).

Boats: Year-old original en route to San Diego. Second due in October.

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