Suspense moved up another notch Sunday in the 36th match for the America’s Cup between defender Team New Zealand and Italian challenger Luna Rossa when lack of wind prevented sailing on the scheduled fourth day.
Each of the first three days has built the tension in the match as the teams have won one race each daily to leave the series deadlocked at 3-3 in the best-of-13 race series.
From 1-1 on day one, to 2-2 on day, to 3-3 on day three, the match has been the closest since 1983 when Australia became the first nation to lift the Cup from the United States.
Racing on all three days has taken place in light winds but on Sunday the wind was vanishingly light, falling consistently below the 6.5 knot average in which racing can take place.
A spectator fleet of almost 1,500 boats headed out to the start line along with Italy’s race boat Luna Rossa and Team New Zealand’s Te Rehutai. But they could only sit idle on a beautiful late summer afternoon, waiting for a breeze that never came.
Racing was to take place on Course A, near Takapuna Beach and in the shadow of the dormant island volcano Rangitoto. But a high pressure system was parked above most of the Hauraki Gulf and Waitemata Harbour which meant there was little wind on the course.
“That’s yacht racing, isn’t it?” New Zealand helmsman Peter Burling said. “It’s very close to being sailable but just not there. You can’t choose the weather.”
Sailors napped on the decks of their race boats and the clock ticked down the eventual cancellation of the day’s racing at 6 p.m.
They will come out again on Monday in the hope of finding a better breeze. A low pressure area off the coast of New Zealand promises better wind for sailing through the coming week. Most of the races so far have been sailed in the lighter wind range, between 7 and 12 knots.
Luna Rossa has looked strong in those conditions. While Team New Zealand has been competitive, its forte might be in the stronger wind range.
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