Hansen backs Team NZ to bring it home
DUNCAN JOHSNTONE IN SAN FRANCISCO
All Blacks coach Steve Hansen had told Team New Zealand not to get frustrated by the endless America's Cup final, believing they have the crew to gain glory.
Hansen has arrived in Argentina with his All Blacks to play the crucial Rugby Championship test against the Pumas next weekend.
At a quick media session at the airport in Buenos Aires, it didn't take long for the subject to turn to the sport that everybody is talking about.
Asked what advice a Rugby World Cup winning coach could offer, Hansen made it clear he felt Team New Zealand could carry out yachting's equivalent as long as they stuck to their systems. He also said his squad would be following their fortunes.
"It's really important for those guys not to get frustrated with it, to keep working on their processes and keep sailing well," Hansen said.
"If they do that, they've shown they're the better crew. We wish them all the best. We'll be watching with interest."
Sadly today's watching for everyone amounted to nothing as another day of the regatta was wiped out by weather.
It wasn't the usual high winds or even the light airs that stole yesterday's "win" from the Kiwis.
This time it was an unusual southerly wind that spoiled proceedings, making it impossible to set a course in the normal area on the San Francisco Bay.
And with both teams unwilling to switch to an alternative course they had never sailed, regatta director Iain Murray had no choice but to postpone both races till tomorrow when better winds are forecasted to return.
That leaves Team New Zealand still sitting on match point while defenders Oracle have to win the next six races to hold on to the America's Cup.
Oracle have won the last two races and with persistent weather interruptions, the Kiwis have had to go through five days without being able to carry out the winning of sport's oldest trophy.
Murray made no apologies for calling off racing today.
"It was always going to be the wind direction," he said.
"The breeze was well left of the race course. It would have been a follow-the-leader race course. That's not what the America's Cup is about."
The wind had everyone scratching their heads as another twist was added to this bizarre final.
"We've never seen that wind direction during any of the days I've been here and the teams have never practiced or spent time with them. The wind direction was also unstable," Murray said.
He confirmed that the final would keep going until it was won.
There are only two days left on the current schedule, meaning four races.
But if Oracle continue their miracle comeback and push beyond that, Murray confirmed a new permit would come from the coastguard to extend the regatta.
- © Fairfax NZ News