Chasing the Wind

Outfitted with money, hubris and seamanship, four swift sailboats vie for the 28th America's Cup

The prize is a 144-year-old Victorian ewer fashioned from 134 oz. of British silver. The ornate vessel happens to be bottomless -- a fitting metaphor for a race whose victors could wind up paying more than half a million dollars an ounce for their trophy. For the bankers, industry barons and one drapery manufacturer who are battling through the semifinal rounds off San Diego this week, the 28th America's Cup competition is not just a matter of money. It is a spiritual quest that combines courage and seamanship with hubris and high technology. Yet deep pockets seem to be the common...

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