AmericaOne capitalized on a pre-start penalty against Prada to defeat the Italian entry by 23 seconds yesterday.

The victory, worth nine points, moved the San Francisco team within one point of the Italians in the 11-syndicate competition. The winner will face New Zealand for sailing's most prized trophy.

In light winds of 11 to 14 knots on Hauraki Gulf, AmericaOne gained the upper hand in pre-start maneuvers when Prada skipper Francesco de Angelis was penalized when his boat's bow nudged into AmericaOne's stern scoop.

The race was closely fought, although Prada's lead going into the last beat should have been enough to allow it to complete its penalty turn and still hold on for victory.

But AmericaOne got a favorable wind shift and passed Prada for the victory.

Fast 2000 has withdrawn from the competition after snapping its only mast, and after the challengers decided an offer by the Spanish team to lend the Swiss team a mast was outside race protocols.

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

AmericaOne def. Prada by 23 seconds.

Nippon def. Spanish Challenge by 1 minute 19 seconds.

America True def. Abracadabra by 1 minute 35 seconds.

Young Australia def. Fast 2000 (default).

Postponed: Stars and Stripes vs. Young America.

Points Standings

Prada 73

AmericaOne 72

Nippon 65.5

America True 65

Stars and Stripes 45.5

Spanish Challenge 44

Young America 42

Le Defi Francais 32

Abracadabra 25

Young Australia 18

Fast 2000 8