The Australian yacht, Southern Cross led from start to finish to beat the French yacht France in the opening race for the America's Cup on Thursday (22 August).
GV France moored alongside quay
SV & GV Crew preparing to sail, loading etc. (3 shots)
GV France being escorted out of harbour
GV Southern Cross moored
SV Crewman going up rigging
MV Crewman placing Australian flag on stern
SV Skipper Hardy talking to crew
GV Sails loaded on board
SV Bond (owner) boarding ship
SV Onlooker with camera
GV Bono scattering sand and water over deck and into sea
GV Starting ship fires gun PAN TO France and Southern Cross starting race
GV Buoy PAN TO yachts
GV Southern Cross TILT UP TO France
GV Yachts tacking (2 shots)
GV Boats following race
GV Boats firing finishing gun
GV Southern Cross
Initials BB/2319 BL/AH/BB/2343
SPORT: YACHT RACING
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: The Australian yacht, Southern Cross led from start to finish to beat the French yacht France in the opening race for the America's Cup on Thursday (22 August).
Southern Cross, a 12-metrs alumimium-hulled yacht never looked in danger during the 24 mile (39 kms) race.
Skippered by veteran Jim Hardy, the Australian entrant gave a superior performance in the seven-to-eight knot winds and looked sharper in all its manoeuvres.
The France -- a revamped wooden-hulled yacht, began four seconds behind at the start after skipper Jean Marie le Guillou took the perhaps fateful decision to sail to the leeward of Southern Cross.
The France trailed by increasing margins from one mark to the next and was six minutes behind at the turn for the last leg before finishing the loser by seven and a half minutes.
The owner of Southern Cross, multi-millionaire real estate owner Allon Bond, had predicted before the race that his yacht would beat France, owned by Baron Bich, a ball-point pen multi-millionaire.
The winner of the best-of-seven "foreign series" will qualify to compete against the United States, which has never lost the America's Cup.
The New York Yacht Club, which organises the final races, had still not decided on the yacht to defend the Cup. The choice is either Courageous or Intrepid. The two yachts are being matched in a series of selection races to help the Club decide which one will meet the challenger. Courageous is an aluminium-hulled yacht while the Intrepid -- has won the Cup in previous years -- is wooden-hulled.
The America's Cup -- a best of seven series -- will start at Newport, Rhode Island, on 10 September.
SYNOPSIS: The French yacht -- France has taken the challenge for the America's Cup this year. On Thursday, her crew was busy preparing the yacht for the first of the best-of-seven challenge series against the Australian yacht Southern Cross. The France was moored in Newport Harbour near the starting point of the triangular course.
The wooden-hulled vessel -- considered by some to be out-of-date -- is owned by Baron Bich, a ball-point pen millionaire.
The Australian entrant was relatively unknown on the international yachting circuit. The twelve metre vessel has an aluminium-hull and was considered the favorite against the French entrant. The Southern Cross was skippered by veteran, Jim Hardy, well known for his attempts at the America's Cup, and owned by multi-millionaire real estate owner, Allan Bond.
The Australians have challenged the Americans for the Cup for years using a number of wooden-hulled vessels. The Southern Cross -- with its aluminium hull, was thought to provide a stronger challenge to the Americans. Allan Bond has high hopes this year.
The moment of truth was the start of the race -- the first of the best-of-seven series. But from the starting gun, the Australian yacht set the pace, and held the lead.
The France began four seconds behind at the line after its skipper, Jean Marie le Guillou made the perhaps fateful decision to sail to the leeward of Southern Cross.
The France trailed by increasing margins from one buoy to the next. he winner of the best-of-seven series will qualify to compete against the Americans who have never lost the Cup. The Australian yacht gave a superior performance in the seven-to-eight knot winds and looked sharper in all its manoeuvres. The experience of skipper Jim Hardy showed itself clearly.
A large spectator fleet followed the competing yachts. After trailing by six minutes at the last turn, the France came in the loser by seven and a half minutes. It was an impressive victory for Southern Cross and a warning to the Americans.