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Emirates Defeats Luna Rossa in Opening of Louis Vuitton Cup

Emirates Team New Zealand had two men go overboard before winning the first race against Italy’s Team Luna Rossa’s damaged catamaran in the Louis Vuitton Cup finals.

The Italian team fixed their damaged daggerboard and started the race before being forced to withdraw yesterday, as Emirates finished the 9.95 nautical-mile course in 31 minutes, three seconds.

The sailing teams are vying for the victory in the best-of-13 championship series in San Francisco Bay. The winner advances to the America’s Cup against defending champion Oracle Team USA starting Sept. 7.

Yesterday’s second race was postponed when the wind exceeded the 19.4-knot (22.32 mph) limit. Two races will be held today and a makeup race tomorrow depending on the winds.

Emirates teammates Chris Ward and Rob Wadell were thrown overboard when the front of the hulls dipped under water on a sharp turn. They were pulled from the bay by a rescue boat.

Two five-leg races of about 25 minutes each are scheduled each day through Aug. 30 until one of the teams tallies seven victories.

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