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SAILING : Mahaney Keeps Law in Check

America’s Cup aspirant Kevin Mahaney of Bangor, Me., brought Britain’s Chris Law back to the pack with a one-second victory in the 30th Congressional Cup at Long Beach Saturday.

Law has a 12-3 record going into his last three races today against San Diego’s Peter Isler (11-4), defending champion Rod Davis (10-5) and Roy Heiner of the Netherlands (8-7). He would have had the title all but locked up if Mahaney (10-5) hadn’t nipped him by a foot or two.

Law, sailing aggressively despite a two-race lead in the event, drew five penalties in losing two of his three races Saturday.

Against Mahaney, he survived sailing’s version of three knockdowns--270-degree penalty turns for fouling Mahaney--to lead by a boat length with 100 yards to go. Then Mahaney jibed away toward the left end of the finish line, accelerated on a puff of wind and got his bow in front at the gun.

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At the first leeward mark, Law’s spinnaker brushed Mahaney’s rigging--foul No. 1. Then, in doing his penalty turn, he forced Mahaney to alter course--foul No. 2--and, finally, halfway up the next beat, he inched back in front but drew foul No. 3 for tacking too closely on top on Mahaney.


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