The 1995 America's Cup will end Tuesday for either Dennis Conner or America3's previously all-women's sailing team.
Conner sailed Stars & Stripes to a lopsided victory over America3's Mighty Mary on Sunday and forced a sudden-death sailoff for the last berth in the Citizen Cup defender finals.Conner was given an immediate lead when Dave Dellenbaugh, the lone man on Mighty Mary, botched the start. Stars & Stripes built its lead on each of the first four legs and won by 4 minutes, 49 seconds.
It was a welcome break for Conner, a three-time America's Cup winner who had lost three straight races. Additionally, an international jury annulled a victory by Stars & Stripes over Mighty Mary last Tuesday as a penalty for Conner changing his damaged keel with one that was slightly different.
Sunday was the resail of the annulled race.
"Obviously, today we just got back the win we had last Tuesday," said Paul Cayard, starting helmsman on Stars & Stripes. "But it's OK. We feel like we have a little momentum.
"We're kind of getting the aftermath of last week's ordeal behind us, as far as everybody working all night, whether to change the keel or to fend off the protests," Cayard said. "So we'll be ready to go on Tuesday."
Conner pulled into a 3-3 tie with Mighty Mary in the battle for the spot opposite Young America in the Citizen Cup finals. The sailoff was scheduled for Tuesday.
"I hate sudden-death," America3 team captain Dawn Riley said. "But we had good odds today. Now we just evened it up once again. Now's it's a matter of going out there and doing what we've been trained to do for a year now."
Mighty Mary simply needed a victory to eliminate Conner. But Dellenbaugh, the tactician and starting helmsman, nudged the 75-foot yacht over the starting line two seconds early. He had to turn back and cross the line again, putting Mighty Mary 53 seconds behind with 18.55 miles yet to sail.
As both yachts approached the starting line on starboard tack, Cayard bore down the line to gain speed. Dellenbaugh stayed too high and was doomed.