Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Zeal for New Zealanders? You Bet

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Zeal for New Zealanders? You Bet

Article excerpt

When the America's Cup finals begin today off the San Diego coast, we're rooting for the New Zealanders. That's because the team from the United States, skippered by Dennis Conner, got into the finals purely through the auspices of their sponsors and the greed of their club.

Not sporting enough to accept being fairly beaten by both a boatload of women and a crew of upstarts, Conner persuaded the host San Diego Yacht Club, of which he once was commodore, to change the rules to give his boat, Stars & Stripes, another chance to beat the women of America3 and Young America.

Conner's crew was a loss away from being eliminated in the defender series by the women, who then would have been entered in the defender finals against Young America. But just before what would have been the deciding race, the rules were changed to let all three boats into the final.

Conner, who acknowledged that the absence of his name in the Cup would upset sponsors, won the skewed final.

Wait, there's more. It turns out that Conner and Co. will not sail Stars & Stripes in the finals because, they say, it is too slow to compete with New Zealand's Black Magic 1. So, Conner will switch to Young America. The San Diego Yacht Club changed the rules March 30 to allow the winner of the defenders series to chose from among the three defender boats for the Cup final. The Kiwis are incensed and are protesting. Fat chance of them winning.

All this is why we're rooting for Team New Zealand. Of course, we're not rooting all that hard. Hey, it's basketball and hockey playoff time. Baseball's in its second week.

But just in case you inherited a sailboat from a recently deceased aunt and want to watch to become informed, we've put together something of a Landlubber's Guide to the America's Cup. Enjoy.

The Schedule: The race dates are today, Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, May 13 and, if necessary, May 14, 16, 18 and 20. …

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