Yachting: Wind postpones America's Cup race
By Glenn Chapman ,AFPSAN FRANCISCO -- The potential final race of the America's Cup was postponed Saturday due to unfavorable wind, denying Emirates Team New Zealand a chance to claim yachting's top prize before Sunday.
September 23, 2013, 12:03 am TWN
The Kiwis need just one more victory to take the Cup from defending champion Oracle Team USA, which must rack up six more wins to retain the trophy in the best-of-17 regatta.
The two races slated for Saturday were scrubbed because the wind came from a direction that would have made for troublesome sailing given the way the course is set up on San Francisco Bay, according to race officials.
“This represents hundreds of millions of dollars and years of peoples lives here on the line; the implications of getting the right results are super important,” said regatta director Iain Murray.
“It is not like going to a car race track,” he continued. “We are in sport where we rely on weather conditions and it can be finicky.”
High winds caused several matches to be postponed, and a lack of wind resulted in a race being abandoned because neither team could make it to the finish within the 40-minute time limit set in the rules.
The Kiwis and the Americans were offered an alternate race course to suit Saturday's conditions but both teams declined, according to Murray.
The latest delay extends the Cup into its 16th day on Sunday, tying a record set in 2003 when the event was conducted in New Zealand.
“Everyone is frustrated with the length of this,” Murray said. “I feel for everyone who has been caught up in delays; wind speeds or time limits or the frustration of just weather.”
He didn't specify how much it will cost if the Cup continues past the last scheduled regatta reserve day on Sunday.
“It's a big number,” Murray said. “It's expensive. There is a lot to consider.”
The U.S. denied New Zealand an America's Cup-clinching victory on Friday, snatching the lead in Race 13 and riding it to the finish.
The win by the defending champion came after what appeared to be a certain Kiwi victory was thwarted by light winds that caused the day's first race to be abandoned due to a time limit to complete the race.
The outcome was a reprieve for the U.S., which lost six of the first seven races but has stubbornly refused to surrender the trophy.
The USA must still win six more races in a row to keep New Zealand from the one victory it needs to wrest yachting's coveted Cup from the hands of Oracle team owner Larry Ellison.
“Obviously, the team that wins carries away most of the memories in any America's Cup,” Murray said when asked how the controversy-saddled regatta will go down in yachting history.
“I think people will remember this for these boats and these crews.”
This Cup was the first to star speedy AC72 catamarans so quick that they “foil” out of the water while traveling upwind.