The inevitable postponement

Day one of the Louis Vuitton finals on hold due to strong winds

Saturday January 11th 2003, Author: Louis Vuitton Media Centre, Location: Australasia
Ernesto Bertarelli's Swiss Alinghi Team and Larry Ellison's American Oracle BMW Racing will have to wait at least another day to commence their best-of-nine Louis Vuitton Cup Final.

Strong winds from the northeast gusting over 25 knots and seas running between 1.5 and 2 metres forced Principal Race Officer Peter Reggio to postpone today's scheduled first race of the challenger selection series final.

"It's just nasty out there," said Reggio, of Essex, Conn. "Fortunately, we're in the final days of the northeasterly flow. The locals say they come in five-day shots and this is the fifth day."

Today is the 19th of 55 race days postponed due to winds either too strong or too light. Oracle BMW Racing had proposed removing the wind limits for the series, but Alinghi didn't consent to the proposal.

"One of the things you do when you read the rule with regard to windspeed parameters is that you design your sails around those limits, and you would probably have different sails onboard if you were racing in 25 knots as opposed to 20 knots of breeze," said Alinghi skipper Russell Coutts.

Today's postponement, however, follows on the heels of the 18-day holiday break. "There's nothing you can do," said Reggio, with regards to the high postponement rate. "Today's tough because everyone's been waiting around for so long to get racing going again."

Tomorrow's forecast predicts more settled northeasterlies between 15 and 20 knots. The sea state might still be confused, but Reggio hopes to get racing in.

"Tomorrow looks like it's going to be doable," said Reggio.

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