Post-race analysis, according to Peterson, suggested they would have drawn a penalty for cutting the margin too close for safety, perhaps even a double penalty for endangering the other boat.
Postponement of the third race, when a light sea breeze was blowing, still rankles the Italian camp. Peterson believes the wind, blowing between 6 knots and 9 knots, was strong enough for racing. A sea breeze makes the water choppier, and waves could make Prada's long overhanging bow more efficient than Black Magic's snubber, deeper nose.
He suspects bias in favor of the home team on the race committee's part.
"They canceled that race. There was no reason to do that," he said.
Peterson's biggest gripe is that the race protocol required the winning syndicate in the Louis Vuitton challengers series to race the same boat in the America's Cup.
That forced Prada to design a boat that would sail in the heavy wind conditions last October through January -- when the challengers broke masts and booms, ripped sails, and one boat even broke -- and in last month's traditionally light airs for the actual Cup competition.
The Kiwis, who faced no challenge before the Cup races, were able to build a boat specifically for late February on their home waters of Hauraki Gulf, always a tricky and unpredictable stretch of sea.
"It's a package that obviously has been developed for special conditions," Peterson said of Black Magic. "They are very good -- and they have all the America's Cup rules in their favor."
The Kiwis have left no doubt that they will not change the boat-selection rule to help future challengers.
The Italians, with Prada bankrolling them, are set to follow the sort of intense research and development program that made Team New Zealand such a formidable defender this year. Next time, the Italians could even produce different boats for different conditions.
One way or the other, they -- and probably Peterson -- will be back in the fall of 2002 to try to launch a boat to out-sail all others -- and again stop an American boat from reclaiming the Cup.