Strong winds throw a spanner in the works for Race 11 and 12 of the Cup, but we shouldn’t be surprised
Although the air of tension and excitement remains, there is a hint of déjà vu as the America’s Cup slows from its frenetic opening pace. A lay day will inevitably take some of the buzz and momentum out of the series, that’s to be expected, particularly with such highly strung machines where maintenance isn’t a luxury but an absolute necessity.
But with the breeze already pumping into San Francisco’s slab sided downtown streets it was clear from early this morning that the weather might be the story of today, slowing the pace of the Cup still further.
We shouldn’t be surprised, every Cup that I’ve followed has had an interlude of this type be it wild weather in Auckland in 2003 that held things up for almost a week, light weather at the opening stage in Valencia in 2007. In 2010 we saw the event delayed for four days and today on the first ‘could win ‘ day of the 34th Americas Cup the weather looks like it just might put the brakes on proceedings.
The forecast is up against the buffers once again with the breeze starting at 15-20 knots before building to 20-25 knots gusts to 28 knots. Add to this a strong ebb current and the wind limits will be even lower than before.
In the event the breeze did indeed precisely what was forecast and racing was blown off.
So what of tomorrow?
The talk is of breezes around 15-18knots, significantly below the wind limits but enough for the boats to foil.
Who will benefit?
Tricky to say as always, but given that Oracle has had the bigger learning curve to climb to get their boat up to speed on the upwind legs in particular, there might be a hint that they would be at a disadvantage in breezes that they haven’t raced in, or had the opportunity to train in that much.
Furthermore, the mood in the Kiwi supporters camp, at least the ones close to the team, seem confident that the team from down under can outperform the Cup holders.
What we do know for sure is that the 34th America’s Cup weather is just as we’ve seen in previous Cups.
Tomorrow is a race day and will start at the usual time 1315 local 2115 BST