America's Cup: Wind could postpone second race

By Paul Lewis

Gone are the days of one-boat racing. Today, the America's Cup will see four 72-foot AC72 catamarans on San Francisco Bay, with two official races planned and some pre-final racing by Oracle Team USA's two yachts.

That's if the wind limits do not interfere - and there are fears the second race between Luna Rossa and Emirates Team New Zealand may have to be postponed.

The Louis Vuitton finals begin at 8.10am NZT, with race two of the best-of-13 series due at 9.10 am. Before that, Oracle's two boats will race against each other on the same course.

This is a new occurrence - not because OTUSA have two boats on the race course but because this is the first time they will release telemetry data which reveals (to expert analysts) how fast they are going; data which is available to other teams for the first time.

However, while the Oracle yachts will race, there are doubts about the second Louis Vuitton race going ahead. Wind limits for the Louis Vuitton are set at 21 knots. Regatta director Iain Murray said today that, corrected for an outgoing tide, the wind limits for the second race would be only 19.4 knots.

With San Francisco's wind usually building during the day, that could see Race 2 postponed until tomorrow with Races 3 and 4 scheduled for that day moving to Tuesday (NZT).

The wind limit for the Louis Vuitton is affected by incoming and outgoing tides, part of the safety recommendations applied after the fatal Artemis capsize in May. The limit, corrected for tides, for the first race, will be 18.9 knots but the breeze is expected to be gentler at that time of day.

Murray defended his setting of the wind limits when asked why the Louis Vuitton did not have the same limit as the America's Cup match (23 knots). The limits have been set to increase as the Cup goes on.

"I looked at the winds, the boats, the competitors and firmly believed people would get better at handling these boats," he said. "But if they wreck their boats [in the Louis Vuitton, before the America's Cup final], there is only a week or so to go.

"There was a little bit of caution in there...People might put everything on the line for the America's Cup. I think my thoughts have proven to be correct; there have been tremendous improvements in handling the boats."

- Herald on Sunday

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