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U.S. Little Cup Team to Protest

The American sailors leading the Little America’s Cup best-of-seven semifinal 1-0 say they will protest their French rivals if they try to continue the series today with a rebuilt rig manufactured in Australia.

The competition at McCrae, Australia, near Melbourne, is for 25-foot C Class catamarans with hard, fixed-shape sails.

The French boat OTIP’s revolutionary see-saw wing broke in two when the boat pitch-poled in Monday’s second race. Pete Melvin and Steve Rosenberg of Long Beach, sailing “Freedom’s Wing” for the Chula Vista Yacht Club, had a half-mile lead at the time but also retired when a bolt started to work loose at the base of their mast. They won Sunday’s first race by 17 minutes.

Melvin said the rules require that boats must be built in their “country of origin,” but the issue can’t be considered until the French try to race with it.

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“Their new rig was made right here in Australia,” Melvin said. “If the race committee doesn’t protest them, we’ll have to.”

The winner will meet the Australian defender in January.


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