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Kookaburra III and Australia IV Survive Collision

Australia IV, which is Alan Bond’s primary hope to defend the cup his Australia II won in 1983 at Newport, R.I., clipped Kookaburra III’s backstay with its bow on a tacking maneuver Sunday and went on to win by two seconds to cut the latter’s lead in the trials to three points.

“The boxing kangaroo got hold of the backstay and tugged pretty hard on it,” said Kookaburra skipper Iain Murray, referring to the green flag with a yellow kangaroo that is the Bond syndicate’s trademark.

“The sophisticated electronic sensors fell into the water and our shipboard computer may be short-circuited,” Murray said. “It brings you back to sailing off the seat of your pants.”

Kookaburra was able to continue the race, but Murray said a decision later not to cover, allowing Australia to take the lead, was made because he believed the race was over and he did not want another incident.

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Both boats protested and the race jury will review the incident tonight.


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