Light winds to play role in opening Cup races
DUNCAN JOHNSTONE IN SAN FRANCISCO
The lightest winds of the regatta have hit the America's Cup today - and they might be even lighter tomorrow.
Regatta director Ian Murray suggested they were "hoping" for 12 knots for today's first of two races when he fronted the pre-race briefing.
He was hoping it may build to 17-18 knots for the second race but there was a lot of hope in his voice.
"It's one of those days where people tell you 'it's never (normally) like this here'. But there should be no issues getting through today's races."
He said tomorrow's forecast loomed as "a tricky day, even trickier than today".
A huge high pressure system has hit the area, meaning the traditional westerly sea breeze has to battle against unseasonal easterly winds - which the course is set up for.
"It could be a little bit funky at the bottom of the course," admitted Murray.
The teams will have to carry big sails today - something they have had little practice with here - and there's the chance that the wind could be on the cusp for foiling abilities.
That would negate Team New Zealand's perceived advantage with their foiling jibes downwind.
The fascination will be to see who can handle the light conditions best.
The general feeling in the leadup is that Oracle has the better setup for light winds.
Team New Zealand arrived for the dock-out show in a relaxed mood, mixing with the crowd, chatting to family and friends, as well as well-wishers.
Organisers have hopes for around 25,000 to be present in the finish line area and another 10,000 down by the area set aside to view the top end of the course, close to the famous Golden Gate Bridge.
Asked how he saw the racing, Murray replied: "We've got two wonderful sailing configurations out there that are vastly different.
"But what we are seeing are two boats going as close in speed as I've ever seen."
- © Fairfax NZ News