A course that could provide shifty wind conditions has been set for today's racing in the America's Cup match, providing hope that sailing fans could finally witness some in-race passing manoeuvres. However, Regatta Director Iain Murray says they shouldn't hold their breath.
After Sunday's racing schedule was abandoned due to light winds, Auckland has been provided much more suitable conditions on Monday, though the choice of courses was still limited to two possibilities.
Faced with a steady northeasterly breeze of 11-13 knots, Murray told media it was a close call between courses A and E for racing, but eventually opted for the latter due to the prospect of a more shifting wind pattern.
It's a set of conditions that many sailing pundits have been looking forward to as each of the first six races in the series has been barren of lead-changes between the boats once the start line has been crossed.
However, the choice could also lead to a situation where there was not enough wind for the boats to stay on their foils in parts of the course. When asked if he was concerned about the potentially shifty nature of course E, Murray countered with "I thought that was what people wanted?"
Murray also cast doubts as to whether today's conditions could even create the potential for increased passing opportunities at all.
"The biggest shift we saw was on course A in that last race where we had a 20 degree shift between the top and the bottom, which was why New Zealand doubled their lead, because they were leaving the crumbs.
"When they're sailing a very expansive race, it's easy to take on the shifts and take the shortest course. If you do that it doesn't leave much for the following boat.
"So it's not as simple as 'give us shifts and we're going to get passing lanes'... these guys are good sailors they know the short run."
Right now, the leading boat, in lighter airs, has a massive advantage, casting a hugely disruptive wind shadow in the lighter airs - something Murray emphasised as another factor that limited lead-changes.
"What has become apparent over the last few lighter days is that the wind-affect from the leading boat is substantial and it can damage the second boat a lot.
"You hear Formula One drivers complain about that all the time, you see it with aircraft coming in to land in airports - they have to space them out - it's the same thing; wind's going through air, creating turbulence."
Racing today is scheduled to get underway at 4:15pm, with Luna Rossa getting port entry in the first race and the series tied at 3-3.
Heading into the Cup racing?
• Give yourself plenty of time and think about catching a ferry, train or bus to watch the Cup.
• Make sure your AT HOP card is in your pocket. It's the best way to ride.
• Don't forget to scan QR codes with the NZ COVID Tracer app when on public transport and entering the America's Cup Village.
• For more ways to enjoy race day, visit at.govt.nz/americascup.