Alinghi takes one-point lead after third-day races

America's Cup holder Alinghi took a one-point lead in the Louis Vuitton Act 8 warmup regatta Saturday while top rivals BMW Oracle and Luna Rossa suffered defeats in the third day of races off the Sicilian coast.

Gusty condition and rough seas made sailing difficult and some boats suffered damages.

Alinghi sailed to easy wins in both its races against Sweden's Victory Challenge and Italy's Luna Rossa.

In Flight Four, postponed from Friday, Victory Challenge broke the start line too early, had to restart and the Swiss defender sailed away winning by 1 minute, 14 seconds.

In Flight Five, Luna Rossa retired from the race after breaking the outhaul while trailing Alinghi by 26 seconds.

Luna Rossa led Desafio Espanol by 1:36 in its earlier match race.

BMW Oracle, the American challenger, looked faster all the way round and won at ease over France's K-Challenge.

However the U.S. boat of Chris Dickson succumbed in the next race to Emirates Team New Zealand that fought off a comeback attempt by BMW Oracle and crossed the finish line with a three seconds edge.

With a perfect record of five wins in as many races, Alinghi led BMW Oracle, Luna Rossa and Emirates Team New Zealand five points to four.

K-Challenge and Victory Challenge come next with three points each.

Match racing of 12 boats continues through Tuesday. Two reserve days are scheduled for next Wednesday and Thursday, followed by three days of fleet racing.

The Louis Vuitton Acts are a series of 14 regattas that started last year as a prelude to the 2007 America's Cup, which will be held off Valencia, Spain. The results of the Acts will help seed the competition for the 2007 challenger trials, AP reported.

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