NEWS BRIEFS

Conner Gets USA-66; Holmberg Keeps Top Spot on Tour; Transat Jacques Vabre

AMERICA’S CUP

Conner Gets USA-66

Team Dennis Conner announced on Monday that his navy blue International America’s Cup Class boat Stars & Stripes, which is being built at New England Boatworks in Portsmouth, R.I., has been assigned a sail number by Ken McAlpine, the IACC Technical Measurer. "In 2000 we raced USA-55," said Conner, who will represent the New York Yacht Club. "For this new boat, we have been issued USA-66, and I think repeating digits are good luck." This is Conner’s ninth America’s Cup challenge.

"The next year is going to be an exciting one for myself, our team, and, of course, the New York YC," said Conner. "We plan to launch our boat in January and start a full training regimen shortly thereafter." Team Dennis Conner will be training in the waters off of Long Beach, Calif., before relocating to their New Zealand compound next summer.

MATCH RACING

Holmberg Keeps Top Spot on Tour

A fourth-place finish at last week’s Colorcraft Gold Cup in Hamilton, Bermuda, was enough for Magnus Holmberg to maintain his No.-1 ranking on the Swedish Match Tour’s Championship Leaderboard and increase his tour earnings to $23,000. The next stop on the Swedish Match Tour is the Nippon Cup in Yokohama, Japan, Nov. 19 to 25. After that, teams will have several months off before resumes play at the Sun Microsystems Australia Cup and the Steinlager/Line 7 Cup in Auckland in March.

Tour Leaderboard as of 10/26/01

1. Magnus Holmberg (SWE) 62
2. Peter Holmberg (Oracle Racing) 55
3. Gavin Brady (Prada Challenge) 32
4. Jesper Bank (Victory Challenge) 20
5. Dean Barker (Team New Zealand) 20
6. Jes Gram-Hansen (DEN) 20
7. Morten Henriksen (illbruck Challenge) 20
8. Ed Baird (USA) 15

OFFSHORE RACING

Transat Jacques Vabre

Open 50s, 60s, and the wild Open 60 trimarans are making final preparations in Le Havre, France, for the Nov. 3 start of the Transat Jacques Vabre. The 5,330-mile route (for the multihulls) will take doublehanded competitors across the Atlantic, through the doldrums, and into the Brazilian port of Salvador de Bahia. The monohulls, sailing a shorter course, will start first, followed one day later by the multihulls. Currently, 13 Open 60s, 14 Open 60 trimarans, and seven Open 50s are expected to race.

RECORDS

Wrong-Way Van Den Heede On Record Pace

Earlier today, Jean-Luc Van Den Heede sailed across the equator for the 10th time. The 56-year-old sailor is 16 days into his attempt to better Philippe Monnet’s 151-day record for a westward solo circumnavigation.

Van Den Heede battle some tough weather after he crossed the line between the Lizard in southwestern England and Ile d’Ouessant in northwestern France, but he has still managed to get himself a half day (124 miles) ahead of the pace set by Monnet with 21,000 miles still to go.