The New York Yacht Club's entry in the America's Cup is officially out of the running for next year's challenge of New Zealand.

Le Defi Francais sealed its place in the semifinals of the America's Cup challenger series with a walkover win over an absent opponent, ensuring that Young America would not advance.

With the six semifinal berths already virtually decided, only seven of the original 11 teams took to the water today for the last races of the third round robin on Auckland's Hauraki Gulf.

Le Defi Francais sailed the race course alone because America True, which had already qualified, forfeited. The nine points for the victory clinched the last berth for Le Defi Francais.

The semifinal series starts on Jan. 2. The best two boats will then go on to sail a best-of-nine series to decide who takes on defending champion New Zealand for sailing's most prized trophy in February.

The two-boat, $40 million Young America syndicate was the New York Yacht Club's first challenger in 12 years and came heavily favored. It won eight of its first 10 races before one boat buckled and their second was rushed out of the shed early.

Syndicate chief John Marshall said the team was spooked by the near-sinking and struggled to regain confidence.

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. Stars and Stripes by 35 seconds.

Nippon def. Abracadabra by 42 seconds.

Le Defi Francais def. America True (defaulted).

Young America def. Young Australia (defaulted).

Prada def. Fast 2000 (defaulted).

Bye: AmericaOne.

Points Standings

Prada 109

Nippon 101.5

America True 101

AmericaOne 99

Stars and Stripes 81.5

Le Defi Francais 77

Failed to qualify:

Young America 60

Spanish Challenge 53

Abracadabra 43

Young Australia 18

Fast 2000 8