Team Dennis Conner's navy blue sloop, Stars & Stripes could not overtake Prada during the second race of Round Robin 2 of the Louis Vuitton Cup

Team Dennis Conner’s navy blue sloop, Stars & Stripes, skippered by Ken Read of Newport RI, sailed a smart, close race today against Italy’s Prada Challenge but could not pass the recently modified yacht named Luna Rossa on the Hauraki Gulf during the second race of Round Robin 2 of the Louis Vuitton Cup.

The all-American team, representing the New York Yacht Club, sailed an aggressive race today in steady northerly conditions ranging between 10-14 knots, but ran out of race course and finished the match 41 seconds behind the Italian team.

“Prada wanted the left at the start and we were content to start on the right-hand side of the line, but we also thought the left would be good so we didn’t give them much room,” said Tom Whidden, a member of Team Dennis Conner’s afterguard. “They (Prada) won the first cross and protected the left from there. Our boat speed was about even and I think both boats have improved since the first Round,” he said.

The two boats started the race on split tacks – Stars & Stripes on port at the committee boat end of the line and Prada Challenge on starboard at the pin end, with Stars & Stripes leading by two seconds. The first beat to weather produced very close racing with the lead being exchanged several times. Prada managed to inch out after a left-hand wind shift and Stars & Stripes rounded the first mark on the heels of the Italian boat. Stars & Stripes made great gains on the first downwind run and came within 11 seconds of Luna Rossa at the first leeward mark rounding. But Read and his very experienced afterguard could not close the gap on Prada and the Italians kept a tight cover on Stars & Stripes all day.

Team Dennis Conner will race against Sweden’s Victory Challenge tomorrow. Currently Team Dennis Conner and Victory Challenge are tied with four wins each. 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; Rock Ferrigno, Fairfield, CT; Chris Kam, Stonington, CT; Tom Whidden, Essex, CT; Terry Hutchinson and Andrew Scott, Annapolis, MD; Mike Toppa, Ft. Lauderdale, FL; and Dave Calverley, Tampa, FL. The 17th man was Murray “Murph” McDonnell support team for Team Dennis Conner.