Further delays

From no wind to too much wind, as race four of the America's Cup gets canned again

Tuesday February 25th 2003, Author: Louis Vuitton, Location: Australasia
The XXXIst America's Cup Match is fast becoming an endurance event with Tuesday marking the fifth postponement in five attempts to start Race Four. There hasn't been racing now for a full week.

The Swiss Alinghi Team currently leads the Defender, Team New Zealand, 3-0 in the best of nine series.

On Tuesday, Principal Race Officer Harold Bennett was confronted with a weather forecast that included a Gale Warning on the Hauraki Gulf and he was forced to cancel racing again.

Alinghi did go sailing in the morning, taking both boats out for a short sail, while Team New Zealand went sailing on 34-foot MRX keelboats in the harbour in front of the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron.

At the scheduled start time of 13:15, there was 25-28 knots, with gusts over 40 knots on the Hauraki Gulf, with a two-metre swell.

Bennett revisited the weather forecast late on Tuesday afternoon, with the hope of re-scheduling Race Four to Wednesday, a scheduled 'off' day. But the weather models are predicting very strong winds overnight and into Wednesday morning, moderating to 25 to 35 knots in the afternoon. That's not a promising scenario, and Bennett decided to hold to the current schedule, with Race Four to be attempted again on Thursday.

Although frustration is setting in among America's Cup sailors and race fans alike, we're a long way from setting any records.

The longest match in America's Cup history was an 18-day endurance contest in 1899 between Sir Thomas Lipton's first Shamrock and the American Columbia, co-owned by J. Pierpont Morgan and with Charlie Barr at the wheel.

It took 11 tries between October 3 and October 20 to get the three-race series completed, with Columbia winning in a sweep, 3-0. In fact, just completing Race One took seven tries over 13 days.

Feedback: Is this delay good for Team NZ or Alinghi?

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