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Yachting: Kiwis win race when Luna Rossa halted


Emirates Team New Zealand won the third race of the America's Cup challenger series Monday when Italy's Luna Rossa pulled out with a mechanical problem for the second time in three days.

"Obviously, Luna Rossa had some sort of issue with their wing, but we felt like we were in a strong position," said Kiwi skipper Dean Barker.

The victory gives the Kiwis a 2-1 lead in the best-of-13 Louis Vuitton Cup final series. The winner of the Louis Vuitton event will square off against defending champ Oracle Team USA in the America's Cup finals in September.

New Zealand completed the course in 22 minutes 28 seconds with a top speed of 42.34 knots.

A scheduled second race on Monday was postponed because of strong afternoon winds that were in excess of the 19.4-knot limit allowed by organizers.

It is the second day in a row that one of the two planned races was postponed because of high winds on San Francisco Bay.

Luna Rossa was halted Monday after rounding the leeward gate with a damaged control panel on the bottom of the wing.

Luna Rossa also had trouble on Saturday, failing to finish race one with damage to the catamaran's starboard daggerboard system.

Luna Rossa helmsman Chris Draper said it was unfortunate they had to stop Monday because they got off to a great start.

"It was very frustrating," said Draper. "We had a nice start, unfortunately one bad jibe when it mattered on downwind leg, but kind of behind us now. Race is done."

New Zealand looked strong Monday but they have also had mechanical problems. On Sunday, the Kiwis were forced from the race with a problem with the circuitry that controls the different hydraulic systems on the boat.