Prada's hold on first place in the America's Cup challenger series finally came to an end.

Previously dominant in the four-month regatta to decide who will take on New Zealand for sailing's most prized trophy, Prada now trails AmericaOne and Japan's Nippon, which handed the Italians their second defeat in two days and only their third of the preliminary competition.

Racing started today on Auckland's Hauraki Gulf in a light breeze that shifted in velocity and direction on the first leg.

But after the boats rounded the first mark, the wind died. Leads changed dramatically as some boats were becalmed while others found patches of wind.

The Nippon team, whose record has improved since it switched to its second boat in the third round robin of the series, found the breeze before Prada and pulled away to win by 3 minutes 13 seconds.

Prada skipper Francesco de Angelis said he made a mistake at the start, which allowed Nippon to take the lead and be in a position to find the wind after the first leg.

"We would have been happy if the race was abandoned," de Angelis said. "It was hard for everybody."

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

Nippon def. Prada by 3 minutes 13 seconds.

AmericaOne def. Spanish Challenge by 11:50.

Abracadabra def. Fast 2000 by default.

Abandoned: Young America vs. Le Defi Francais, America True vs. Young Australia.

Bye: Stars and Stripes.

Points Standings

AmericaOne 81

Nippon 74.5


America True 65

Stars and Stripes 45.5

Spanish Challenge 44

Young America 42


Le Defi Francais 32

Young Australia 18

Fast 2000 8