Racing was abandoned for lack of wind

 Monday 16 April dawned clear, promising the first sunny day for weeks and an auspicious start to Day One of the 32nd America’s Cup racing, the first flights of the first round robins of the Louis Vuitton Cup, the pre-America’s Cup series that decides which team will challenge Alinghi for the Cup.

The tension in Port America’s Cup was palpable as crews readied their boats for the event they have been working towards for three years. Sirens sounded as they left their compounds, crowds lined the canal leading to the sea cheering their favourites as they were towed out towards the race course. The forecast was for 6-8 knots of breeze – marginal conditions for a Cup race – possibly increasing to 10 – 12 knots in mid-afternoon.

Out on the water it was far less than this and although hopes were raised briefly as a sea breeze started to build it only lasted for a few minutes. At 1405, time for the first signal for the first race, racing was postponed. At 1745 racing was abandoned for the day, which means one of the reserve days – probably Friday – will be needed to complete the first round robin. With continued light weather forecast there is real concern that the programme – already tight – will not have enough slack to complete round robin 1 on time.

Today would have been the first America’s Cup race I have seen since Auckland in 2003 and what a contrast between the two events. Auckland was raw, exciting and unpredictable. Although that Cup had a real buzz about it, compared to the super-slick event that ACM and Valencia have put together here it was a village fete compared to a county show.

In 2003 the Kiwis put on a great show, make no mistake, but in the last four years the America’s Cup has grown out of recognition on all counts. The organisation is slick, the city has delivered what it promised in turning an area of rundown dockland into a world class venue. And, as a result of three years of Acts, or pre regattas, the competition will be closer that it has ever been in any America’s Cup.

If only we could borrow some of that Hauraki Gulf wind. Picture shows Emirates Team New Zealand waiiting for the breeze.