(AP) Emirates Team New Zealand tore the tarp in the center of its catamaran and lost two men overboard before holding on to beat hobbled Italian Team Luna Rossa in a scary opener to the Louis Vuitton Cup finals Saturday.
The Italians scrambled to repair lines around the right dagger board of their 72-foot catamaran just before the start. They caught a break when officials delayed the race 20 minutes waiting for the wind to drop below the 22 mph limit.
Both crew members were lifted out of the water by a rescue boat within seconds, and Emirates finished the race with nine men. It was not immediately clear if they were injured.
The winner of the best-of-13 Vuitton Cup advances to the America's Cup match against Oracle Team USA, which has been accused of cheating by both teams.