VALENCIA - Alinghi landed the first shot on the water in the America's Cup against BMW Oracle overnight (NZT) despite the acrimonious best-of-three series being delayed.

The defending champion Swiss team sailed circles around BMW Oracle during a four-hour wait off the Valencia coast before the first race was postponed until Wednesday due to unsteady wind.

Alinghi president Ernesto Bertarelli said they did "a couple of tours" around the American challenger to send a message and to get a look at its three-hull boat.

"We want to have a race. All these hours and days that go by make it more difficult to wait," said Bertarelli, a biotech billionaire who is also Alinghi's helmsman. "We wanted to sail a little bit to show them that that's what we like to do."

Bertarelli didn't spot BMW Oracle president Larry Ellison on board his boat, the navigator is only expected to assume his role from the second race.

"He doesn't seem to be willing to be on his boat, which is unfortunate," Bertarelli said. "Winning the America's Cup for a sailor means being on board."

The 33rd edition of the sailing classic has been disrupted by a court fight lasting 2-1/2 years.

Both teams had to dock out about 6.30am local time (1830 NZT) before returning to Port America's Cup around 4.30pm (0630 NZT) with the race course 24km out to sea.

"I think it's the first time in Cup history that we've been out with two hours to go before sunrise," Bertarelli said. "It's something special to be pointing out at the start line in the middle of the night."

Wind conditions are expected to pick up Wednesday. But choppier waters are also likely, meaning there is a good chance that another postponement is imminent.

- AP