New Zealand team wins first contested race of America's Cup

SAN FRANCISCO

Emirates Team New Zealand won against Luna Rossa Challenge by nearly five and a half minutes, completing the 15.47 nautical mile course race in 43 minutes and 52 seconds, race officials said.

The team had a top speed of 42.33 knots, or 48 mph, while Luna Rossa reached only 39.95 knots, or 46 mph.

Emirates Team New Zealand scored a previous point on July 7 in the first race in the 2013 Louis Vuitton Cup by sailing unopposed. The winner of the cup will race against Oracle Team USA for the America's Cup.

Luna Rossa Challenge sat out the opening race against the New Zealand team because of a dispute over a proposed rule change requiring modifications to rudders on the AC-72 vessels being used in the races.

The proposed change was among 37 recommendations made by regatta director Iain Murray following the May 9 death of Sweden-based Artemis Racing crewmember Andrew "Bart" Simpson when the team's boat capsized during a practice run.

Both teams appealed the change, but only Luna Rossa chose to sit out the race until a ruling on July 11 by a five-person panel. The panel upheld the appeal, stating that the changes must be withdrawn because Murray did not have the power to make the change without the agreement of all teams.

Luna Rossa then participated in its first race of the regatta that same day, also winning uncontested because the team's opponent, Artemis Racing, is sitting out the competition until at least later this month while making repairs to the boat damaged in the May 9 tragedy.

The next scheduled race of the Louis Vuitton Cup is today, and will feature Emirates Team New Zealand.

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