Dennis Conner's "new and improved" Stars & Stripes was no match for Bill Koch's new yacht, America3, in the first race of the second round of the America's Cup Defender Selection Series.
America3, in only its third day on the water, downed Stars & Stripes by a commanding 6 minutes, 23 seconds, completing the eight-leg, 22.6-mile race course in 3 hours, 34 minutes, 20 seconds. This was the farthest behind Stars & Stripes has finished yet.During the two-week layover between the first two rounds, the financially strapped Conner acquired seven new sails, moved the rudder and modified the keel in an attempt to improve boat speed.
Koch, president of the America3 Foundation, simply added a third boat to his stable to take a five-point lead over Conner in the defender trials.
Saturday's race, delayed for 45 minutes because of light wind, was sailed on the Pacific Ocean off Point Loma in breezes ranging from 5 to 8 knots.
Though it was America3's first victory, the 75-foot sloop now has eight points. Because the boats are assigned to slots for scoring purposes, points earned actually go to the slots rather than the boats. Thus, America3, which replaced Defiant in slot B, began the second round 2 with the six points Defiant earned in the first round.