Nippon claims last spot in challenger series AMERICA'S CUP

March 09, 1995

SAN DIEGO -- Nippon is in and France 3 is out, giving the America's Cup strictly a Pacific Rim flavor.

Nippon claimed the last spot in the challenger semifinals yesterday by sailing to a 13-second victory over Rioja de Espana. That eliminated France 3, and with it any European presence for the first time since the semifinals began in 1980.

France 3 beat Sydney 95 by 1 minute, 36 seconds but finished three points behind Nippon at the end of Round Robin 4. Rioja de Espana and Sydney 95 were eliminated Monday.

Nippon will join Team New Zealand, NZL-39 and oneAustralia in the Louis Vuitton Cup semifinals beginning March 18. One of those yachts will reach the America's Cup match, where it will face the American defender.

On the defender course, Dennis Conner's Stars & Stripes handily beat the America3 women's team aboard Mighty Mary by 1:35 to clinch second place and one bonus point going into the Citizen Cup semifinals.

Kevin Mahaney's Young America has clinched first place and two bonus points. The women's team will have no bonus points. Victories in the semis will be worth one point.

SUMMARY RESULTS

Citizen Cup Defenders

Stars & Stripes, Dennis Conner, def. Mighty Mary, Leslie Egnot, by 1 minute, 35 seconds.

Louis Vuitton Cup Challengers

Nippon, Makoto Namba, def. Rioja de Espana, Pedro Campos, 13 seconds; oneAustralia, John Bertrand, def. NZL-39, 57 seconds; France 3, Marc Pajot, def. Sydney 95, Michael Coxon, 1:36.

STANDINGS

Citizen Cup

Young America, 46 pts.; Stars & Stripes, 39; Mighty Mary, 21.

Louis Vuitton Cup

x-Team New Zealand, 65 pts.; x-oneAustralia, 53; x-NZL-39, 49; x-Nippon Challenge, 28; France 3, 25; Rioja de Espana, 14; Sydney 95, 13.

x-clinched a semifinal berth

Note: Victories in round-robin four are worth seven points for defenders and five for challengers.

TODAY'S SCHEDULE

Citizen Cup

Young America vs. Mighty Mary. Layday: Stars & Stripes.

Louis Vuitton Cup

End fourth round robin. Semifinals begin March 18.

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