In the midst of an expedition to document the impact of global warming and pollution on the Amazon Basin, America’s Cup champion Sir Peter Blake was shot and killed yesterday, when pirates boarded his research boat at the mouth of the Amazon River. Blake, a 53-year-old native of Auckland, New Zealand, won the yacht race in 1995 and 2000, but had recently retired from competitive sailing to devote his time to studying ecological problems and launching an adventure travel company. Blake was revered in New Zealand, where flags are being flown at half-mast to mourn his death.