America's Cup: Racing abandoned

By Dana Johannsen in San Francisco

Racing has been abandoned in San Francisco today as the interminably long 34th America's Cup continues to drag on.

The day's programme had already been cut back to just one race after the start of race 14 was delayed due to an unusual set of weather conditions on San Francisco Bay. But by 9.40am - the latest possible opportunity to get a race away - the conditions still weren't conducive for fair racing and so it was called off for the day.

In another unexpected twist to a regatta that has already delivered several surprises, the problem today was the famously predictable San Francisco Bay breeze that always comes in from the west was blowing from the south, meaning organisers were unable to set the course until it shifted. It's all due to a front that has rolled into the Bay, bringing with it rain, which is unusual for San Francisco in September, and light and variable winds from the south. But then, "it's not usually like this" seems to have become a catch-cry of the local sailors during this event, with the weather throwing several curveballs at the teams already.

Regatta director Iain Murray said the teams were given the option of racing on an alternate southerly winds course at a meeting last night, but the proposal was rejected. With the stakes for today's racing so high, he said neither team were willing to "chance their arm".

"I think it's simply because the teams have never practised in that area, they haven't done their homework in that area, and I think for the racing that is left on the table it's extremely important and I think they'd prefer to wait, rather than chance their arm," said Murray.

Using the southerly course would also have meant shutting down the shipping channels on the Bay, which would have been a difficult undertaking for the Coastguard.

"That was a big deal for the Coastguard, they were relieved to hear the attitudes of the teams," said Murray.

And so race management had little option but to sit it out and wait for the front to pass and the wind direction shift to the west.

Team New Zealand need one point to lift the Auld Mug, while Oracle Team USA need six.

- NZ Herald

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