Louis Vuitton Cup: Boycott to hand Team NZ first win

By Dana Johannsen, in San Francisco

Emirates Team New Zealand
Emirates Team New Zealand

Louis Vuitton Cup - race 1
Team New Zealand v Luna Rossa (LR will boycott the race)
Start time: 7.15am (NZT)
Wind strength: 12-14 knots at the start, building to 20 knots by the end of the race
Course conditions: Flood tide (adjustable wind limit +1.3 knots)

"Today we've got a wonderful race between New Zealand and New Zealand it would appear," said a rueful Iain Murray, America's Cup regatta director.

Luna Rossa are refusing to take the startline for today's opening race of the Louis Vuitton Cup as they await a jury hearing on their protest over Murray's attempts to alter the design rules just a week out from the start of racing.

The Italian team this morning put out a statement clarifying their position, with skipper Max Sirena claiming it is a question of principle.

"By racing under these rules, enforced by the regatta director...we would somehow silently approve them.

This is not the case, therefore we have no choice but to stay ashore until the international jury has reached a decision on the matter," said Sirena.

"We have been forced into this position. We did not come to San Francisco to watch races, but to race."

Earlier this morning Team New Zealand received a rousing send-off from their base at pier 30-32 by Maori cultural group Te Waka Huia, who blessed the boat as it was being hoisted into the water ahead of the first race.

Dean Barker and his crew need to complete the full course - expected to take around 45 minutes - to collect the point from the match. The team were offered the choice by Murray of completing a shorter course, but the team opted for a full-length course to get in as much practice as they could on the race track.

- NZ Herald

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