Sir Ben Ainslie says his team may have been let off the hook by the weather gods today.

Light winds in Bermuda forced the abandonment of the opening day of racing in the Louis Vuitton challenger semifinals today, with the schedule now moved to tomorrow's reserve day.

Emirates Team New Zealand selected the British team as their semifinal opponents for the first-to-five series, with the weather forecast playing a key role in that decision.

The Kiwi team had a massive speed advantage over BAR when the two teams lined up in light conditions in the second round robin, as Team NZ impressed with their ability to foil right around the race track in the marginal racing conditions.


With similar conditions forecast today, Team NZ looked well-placed to get their semifinal series off to a strong start, but the weather did not play ball. The race committee had several attempts to get races underway, but each time they had to re-set, as the average wind speed dropped below the minimum threshold for racing of six knots.

Regatta director Iain Murray officially pulled the pin at 4pm local time (7am NZT).

When asked how he felt about the delay, Sir Ben was typically up front.

"I have to be really honest, we're not too unhappy about the situation right now," he said. "We have struggled in the light air, our competitors know that, so we'll be keen to crack into racing tomorrow."

While there was a degree of disappointment in the New Zealand camp, they were pragmatic about the situation. Team NZ sailing coach Murray Jones said the team had hoped to get an opportunity to test their performance in light air, but acknowledged weather delays are all part of the sport.

"We were hoping, this morning, there was going to be a little more breeze than this," said Jones. "Earlier this morning, we had a breeze of 5-9 knots, so we were hoping to get at least one race in, but the breeze dropped early and we missed out, so it was a bit disappointing.

"We were interested to see how we went in that light air, but anyway, we'll get another chance."

The forecast for tomorrow is much more promising for a full day of action, with a moderate breeze of 10-14 knots expected on the Great Sound. The British team have performed well in these conditions during last week's America's Cup qualifiers, but Jones said Team NZ are also pretty happy with their speed shown in that range.


"I think they go pretty well around the 12-knot range - it could be around that tomorrow," he said. "And they've made pretty big gains over the last week, so we should be in for a good race.

"We're happy in those conditions as well, but we did want another look-in in the light air, just to check in."

Today's weather delay could be just the beginning of a disruptive week on the water, with the conditions later in the week set to test the upper end of the wind limit.

Regatta director Iain Murray said forecasts for Wednesday and Thursday look "pretty sporty".

"It will be a test for the crews at the other extreme of the wind range - obviously their skills in sailing the boats in what will be extremely high speeds, and also the concern of breakages that come with that.

"So we've got a pretty interesting week coming up," he said.

Tomrrow's schedule
SF 1 R1: Emirates Team New Zealand v Land Rover BAR, 5.08am (NZT)
SF 2 R1: Artemis Racing v SoftBank Team Japan, 5.37am
SF 1 R2: Land Rover BAR v Emirates Team New Zealand 6.06am
SF 2 R2: SoftBank Team Japan v Artemis Racing, 6.35am

Forecast shows more promise with a southeasterly 5-10 knots, that should shift south and build late in the day