Team New Zealand posts fourth straight victory

January 19, 1995|By Peter Baker | Peter Baker,Sun Staff Writer

SAN DIEGO -- Team New Zealand extended its winning streak to four races in the Louis Vuitton Cup here yesterday by defeating oneAustralia and America's Cup veteran John Bertand.

"We were trailing on the first leg, and the Aussies were going very fast," said Russell Coutts, skipper of Team New Zealand. "But then we got lucky with a couple of wind shifts and were able to slip ahead.

"Through the race it seemed that every time we turned a corner, we got a more favorable breeze."

Part of the reason may have been crewman Murray Jones, who spent much of the race up the mast aboard Team New Zealand -- and at one point was seen eating a sandwich and talking into a headset as the Kiwis opened up their lead on oneAustralia.

"I take me lunch box up with me now," Jones joked afterward, "because I don't trust them guys to bring me back down."

From his post at the masthead, Jones apparently was calling the windshifts for Coutts and the afterguard.

The final margin was 1:36.

"Team New Zealand is to be congratulated," said Bertrand, who won the America's Cup in 1983 with the winged-keel Australia II. "They have taken this sport to a new level of sophistication."

Winds cause postponements

Pat Healy of the race committee said the first and second races were started, but postponed when neither pair reached the top of the first leg within the 50-minute time limit.

A restart was considered impossible because winds were too light to ensure that the boats could finish the 18.55-nautical-mile course before dark.

The matches between Sydney '95 and Win New Zealand and Nippon and Spain will be sailed today.

MA Races originally scheduled for today will be sailed tomorrow.

Cotton may return

Steve Cotton, the Win New Zealand crew member who lost two fingers during Tuesday's racing, underwent surgery and may return before the end of the event.

Doctors at the University of California San Diego Medical Center were unable to reattach the tips of the fingers, but the injury was cleaned and sewn up.

Cotton, 27, was adjusting the running backstays during a race against Team New Zealand and got his hand caught under a pulley in the spinnaker sheet.

Television debate

Stars and Stripes skipper Dennis Conner asked Louis Vuitton Cup media coordinator Bruno Trouble why television coverage of the challenger matches was available and and none was available from the defender races.

Trouble said that although ESPN cable has purchased the rights to the defender trials, it does not plan to air coverage until the end of March.

"This is an American decision, not our decision," said Trouble.

America's Cup Television, under Trouble's supervision, has been televising the challenger races daily.

"Today we missed something for sure," said Trouble, referring to the Team Dennis Conner-PACT '95 match.

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