Awesome was the way Ken Read described his crew after their win in the second race of the Louis Vuitton Challenger series today

Team Dennis Conner’s America’s Cup race boat Stars & Stripes logged a solid victory over the defending Louis Vuitton Cup champion Luna Rossa in Auckland, New Zealand today, on the second day of Louis Vuitton Cup competition.

Skipper Ken Read and his American crew overtook the Italian boat from the Prada Challenge soon after the start and led around the six-leg course with a 200-yard margin. Stars & Stripes’ lead at the finish was 35 seconds. Her record in the eight-race First Round Robin of the Louis Vuitton Cup is 2-0.

“For our first race, the crew earned us a win. Today our tactics won the day,” Read said. “Our afterguard did a phenomenal job – Terry Hutchinson, Peter Isler and Tom Whidden were just awesome. They didn’t miss a wind shift all day.”

The New York Yacht Club’s challenger crossed the start line at maximum speed with a safe leeward position moments after Luna Rossa, flying the colors of the Yacht Club Punta Ala, made a downspeed start at the committee boat end.

Strong and squally south-west winds had forced the abandonment of racing for two days, but today the boats started under sunny skies in a 18-knot southerly breeze.

Luna Rossa tacked away soon after the gun and for a few minutes neither boat had an advantage. Then the American boat tacked and began to pull out ahead.

“We got a nice left-hand shift right off the line and never looked back,” Read said. Stars & Stripes led by 32 seconds at the first weather mark and increased her lead on all but two subsequent legs.

The crew of Stars & Stripes today was: Vince Brun, Wally Henry, Peter Isler, and Bill Trenkle, from San Diego, CA; Chuck Brown, Jerry Kirby, Rob Myles, Ken Read and Tony Rey, from Newport, RI; Chris Kam, Stonington, CT; Rock Ferrigno, Fairfield, CT; Tom Whidden, Essex, CT; Mike Toppa, Fort Lauderdale, FL; Dave Calverley, Tampa, FL; Larry Mialik, Madison, WI and Terry Hutchinson, Annapolis, MD. The 17th man was Lawrence Huntington, Rear Commodore, New York Yacht Club.