Young America, the New York Yacht Club's entry, lost to Nippon of Japan yesterday in the third round of the America's Cup challenger series.

Young America is in eighth place in the final round robin of the series to decide who will take on defender New Zealand next year.

The top six challenger teams will advance to a third round of races, beginning in January.

Young America is struggling to come back from near disaster in the second round, when one of its boats cracked apart during a race and almost sank. Major structural work was carried out to repair and strengthen both boats. There was no sign of structural problems yesterday when Young America beat Nippon to the start, nor during an intense tacking duel on the first beat.

But Nippon emerged the winner of the duel, and Young America came away having to make a penalty turn for tacking too close. Despite some wind shifts later in the race that favored the Americans, Nippon held them off and scored the winner's nine points with a margin of 4 minutes 55 seconds.

Points Standings

Prada 64

AmericaOne 54

Nippon 47.5

America True 47

Stars and Stripes 45.5

Spanish Challenge 26

Abracadabra 2000 25

Young America 24

Le Defi Francais 14

Young Australia 9

Fast 2000 8

Results yesterday in the third round robin of the Louis Vuitton Cup challenger series for the America's Cup in Auckland's Hauraki Gulf:

Spanish Challenge def. Fast 2000 (default).

Nippon def. Young America by 4 minutes 55 seconds.

Prada def. Le Defi Francais by 37 seconds.

America True def. Stars and Stripes by 30 seconds.

AmericaOne def. Abracadabra

by 3:15.

Bye: Young Australia.