America's Cup: Glitches and weather ruling so far

By Dana Johannsen, in San Francisco

Team NZ having to look at plan B as disruptions drag Louis Vuitton finals out, thwarting hopes of 7-0 sweep

Teams and fans alike will be hoping for a full day's racing today. Photo / Abner Kingman
Teams and fans alike will be hoping for a full day's racing today. Photo / Abner Kingman

When Team New Zealand looked at the Louis Vuitton finals schedule, they would have hoped that by the end of this weekend they would have booked themselves a place in the big show against Oracle.

The way the series has dragged on over the early days with the continued boat breakages and weather disruptions, team management will now be putting a plan B in place should racing extend into next week.

The Kiwi team's hopes of sweeping Luna Rossa 7-0 have already gone begging after a hydraulic failure on board forced Team NZ to retire from the second race, but that won't cost them any extra days because they can still take out the finals on Sunday.

It's the restrictive wind limits and reliability of the boats that threaten to cause further delays and throw a spanner in the works for Team NZ.

So far this series race organisers have been unable to get through a full day's programme, with the winds building in the afternoon beyond the allowable range.

A change in tidal conditions from today should provide some relief, pushing the tide-adjusted wind limit above 21 knots. But there is still a concern over the reliability of the skittish AC72 catamarans, particularly the Italian boat.

Luna Rossa have experienced breakages on all three of the days, all of which would have prevented them taking part in the scheduled second race of the day had the weather gods not intervened first. Teams can enforce a postponement if gear damage were to prevent them from taking part in the second race, but only have one "postponement card" each.

It is unlikely the Italian team will get through the finals without exercising that option.

With the America's Cup final to be raced under the same format - two races a day over the shorter course - Team NZ will be hoping to experience back-to-back races at least once during the finals series.

Skipper Dean Barker said that although they had simulated the demanding schedule a lot in training, it would help to get a taste of what it is like in a proper race situation.

"All our systems and timing are in place to do that and we feel comfortable with it, but it's still a lot different when you're in a race environment."

Yesterday was unusually quiet at the Cup village with the two challengers doing much-needed maintenance work after three costly days on the water. They'll be back out today for what teams and fans alike hope will be two more races.

Today's races
Race 4 - 8.10am
Race 5 - 9.10am

Tomorrow
Rest day

Saturday
Reserve day (schedule dependent on how many races they get through today, but they still have at least one race to catch up on)

- NZ Herald

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