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AMERICA'S CUP : Team New Zealand Rolls, France 2 Flips

February 21, 1995|From Associated Press

SAN DIEGO — Team New Zealand handed John Bertrand's new oneAustralia its first loss in a close race in shifty Pacific Ocean winds Monday and continued to dominate the challenger series at the America's Cup.

Late in the afternoon, the training yacht France 2 capsized about seven miles off the coast after it lost its keel in 15 knot winds.

The 13 crew members were fine, other than being a bit stunned, syndicate spokeswoman Barbara Wolfe-Barrielle said.

It was the same yacht that was dropped by a crane Dec. 7, punching the keel up through the deck and snapping the mast in half.

"It doesn't stop, this poor boat," said Wolfe-Barrielle, who added the December accident apparently didn't contribute to Monday's accident.

On the defender course, Kevin Mahaney's Young America took advantage of a wind shift on the first leg and beat the America3 women's team by 2:24. It was Young America's fifth consecutive victory and the women's third loss in a row.

When the wind kicked up, several syndicates headed out for training. France 2 had just started speed testing with France 3, which won its race earlier in the day, when it lost its keel.

Without the keel bulb, which weighs 17 to 18 tons, France 2 was floating on its side.

With a storm approaching, the French set up a pump and stabilized the 75-foot hull with buoys. They planned to tow it to calmer waters where they would try to remove the 110-foot mast and right the hull.

Earlier, Team New Zealand won by 26 seconds, only the second time in 16 races that its winning margin was less than one minute. The other time was when they beat Nippon by 12 seconds on Jan. 31.

Team New Zealand, skippered by Russell Coutts, remains unbeaten on the water. Its only defeat came in the protest room when the international jury overturned its second-round victory over oneAustralia, ruling it illegally had a man up the mast looking for wind.

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