Emirates Team New Zealand win preliminaries

Ian Roman Photography / www.ianroman.com
But James Spithill's Oracle Racing is the class act on day one of the America's Cup World Series
There was something of an embarrassing start to the new era of the America’s Cup today. The AC45 solid wingsail catamarans, dubbed ‘the boats that can sail in any conditions’, aimed at putting an end to the delays that have dogged past America’s Cups (and in particular the damaging effect they have on sailing's credibility as a sport suitable for live TV), started out their competitive careers at the AC World Series in Cascais, Portugal...with a one hour delay. The sun, blue skies and solid breeze, that have featured over the past weeks as many of the team’s have been training here, gave way to a general greyness, light drizzle and high pressure that all but killed the wind. ‘It’s not normally like this, etc’ muttered some, as others wittily observed it was good training for when the America’s Cup World Series visits Plymouth next month. With the most under rehearsed team - Green Comm - joining the racing today after missing yesterday's practice racing, so nine AC45s were on the start line and the biggest surprise, when the first race did get underway, was that the race favourite, winning helmsman from the 33rd America’s Cup, Oracle Racing’s James Spithill, was penalised for not being inside the start zone with two minutes to spare and then after being first to the reaching mark, was disqualified by the umpires for failing to carry out his penalty in time (penalties in the new era of the America’s Cup are not turns, but the penalised boat must slow down by two boat lengths, or until the umpires see fit – this is communicated from umpires to the crew on board digitally). Spithill later admitted that there had been a problem with his screen on board. With Spithill out of the way, Terry Hutchinson and Artemis