Sailing: Wind disrupts America's Cup World Series

Emirates Team NZ will have to wait to get underway. Photo / Getty
Emirates Team NZ will have to wait to get underway. Photo / Getty

The first race day of the Louis Vuitton America's Cup World Series in New York did not quite live up to the excitement and anticipation around downtown New York City, as light winds prevented any meaningful sailing.

The crowds were out in their thousands, the spectator craft were spread across the Hudson River, however the wind didn't seem to be so eager to join the party failing to get above five knots until after the official racing window had closed.

The first race started on schedule, but by the time the fleet approached the reach mark the breeze had dropped enough to make rounding the mark impossible for half the fleet, forcing the race committee to abandon the race and wait for more breeze.

"Racing was hard work," said Team New Zealand tactician Ray Davies.

"Right under the manhattan skyline and it was like sailing under a huge cliff just a few feet from shore, so a very light and turbulent breeze and about three knots of current so it was really un-sailable, the race committee did the right thing calling the race off early."

In the meantime a couple of teams were entertaining the crowds with speed runs along the sea wall, foiling as they were pulled behind their chase boats.

It was all the foiling the crowds would see on the first day unfortunately.

The Race Committee endeavoured to set a course suitable for racing shifting the course further down the river to try to find some more breeze to get a second start away.

Eventually the official race window closed without another start, but as insurance the race committee started a "substitute race" which will be used to count only if racing cannot be completed tomorrow.

Conditions once the substitute race began could be described as painfully race-able, with current ruling the race course, and a small gennaker twist stalled the kiwi boat long enough to put it out of the running in the race.

"A tough and long day at the office today for us," said skipper Glenn Ashby.

"With extreme current and sloppy water in the Hudson mixed with not a lot of breeze made sailing really testing for not only the sailors but also the race committee."

"But you put the day behind you and look forward to tomorrow with good breeze and the entire regatta to play for."

The substitute race will only count for points if three races cannot be raced tomorrow. But with a forecast of 14- 18 knots, the final day or Louis Vuitton America's Cup World Series New York looks set to be a dramatic one.

- NZ Herald

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