Strong 'summer' winds

Racing postponed today on the Hauraki Gulf

Friday December 13th 2002, Author: Louis Vuitton Media Centre, Location: Australasia
The Louis Vuitton Cup Semi Final Round lost its second day of racing today due to winds well in excess of prescribed limits.

"We have 2.2 metre seas, average winds of 28 knots at Bean Rock (in the Hauraki Gulf) and puffs well into the 30s," said Principal Race Officer Peter Reggio. "That's just a bit outside the limits."

Weather forecasters started predicting on Tuesday that today would be difficult for racing. A vigorous Southern Ocean low-pressure system (960 mb), 400 miles southeast of New Zealand's South Island, is moving east, bringing a strong westerly airflow over the Auckland area.

Earlier this week Reggio was forced to postpone the first scheduled day of the semi finals due to strong winds. On that day, however, the teams departed Viaduct Harbour for the racecourse. The postponement wasn't announced until 1430 hours.

The decision to postpone today was announced shoreside at 0630 hours. This marks the 16th postponed day of racing due to winds either too strong or too light in 46 scheduled race days.

Russell Coutts's Team Alinghi leads Oracle BMW Racing and skipper Chris Dickson by 3-0 in the best-of-seven round. Coutts's crew needs one more victory to advance to the Louis Vuitton Cup Finals, scheduled to begin January 11.

Peter Gilmour's OneWorld Challenge is tied 1-1 with defending Louis Vuitton Cup champs Prada Challenge and skipper Francesco de Angelis in the other match.

OneWorld has won two of three races, but is tied due to a one point penalty imposed by the America's Cup Arbitration Panel. Each team needs to win three more races to advance to the Semi Final Repechage Round, while it'll meet the loser of Alinghi-Oracle BMW Racing.

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