Update Wednesday: Follow Wednesday’s action here.
Update, 2 p.m.: The winds wouldn’t cooperate, and America’s Cup officials have rescheduled Races 11 and 12 for Wednesday afternoon (Thursday breakfast time in Auckland).
Update: With breezes still exceeding Race 11’s wind limit of 20.1 knots, the start has been delayed to 1:45 p.m. PDT/8:45 a.m. Wednesday NZST).
Original post: America’s Cup officials are taking a hard look at today’s wind and tidal conditions before giving the go-ahead for today’s scheduled finals races. From the official America’s Cup blog:
With a weather forecast calling for winds gusting up to 28 knots coupled with a strong ebb tide, the prospect for racing today is questionable. Regatta Director Iain Murray put today’s forecast in stark terms at his morning briefing. “This is the strongest current day we’ve had all summer. This is getting up towards the day that ORACLE TEAM USA had its difficulty last October,” said Murray.
Murray plans to send the race committee boat, Regardless, to the racecourse to monitor the wind conditions. After the dock-out show, around 1130, he’ll make a decision whether to send the crews to the racecourse or keep them moored at the America’s Cup Park, at Piers 27/29.
The event’s wind limit fluctuates on a day-to-day basis depending on tidal conditions and associated currents. The stronger the tidal flow, the lower the wind speed the boats are allowed to sail in. Today’s wind limits have been announced as 20.1 knots for Race 11 (scheduled at 1:15 p.m. PDT/8:15 a.m. Wednesday New Zealand Standard Time) and 20.3 knots for Race 12 (2:15 p.m./9:15 a.m. Wednesday NZST).
This could be the last day of the America’s Cup finals — if Emirates Team New Zealand manages to win Races 11 and 12. The San Francisco Chronicle’s Tom FitzGerald reminds us that, as hard as it might be to imagine here, with our nationwide Sports Attention Overload Disorder, in New Zealand, a victory would be akin to a national holiday:
Perched high above San Francisco Bay on his starboard hull during Saturday’s heart-stopping near-capsizing, Kiwis trimmer Glenn Ashby had a fantastic view, he told reporters wryly.
“You can almost see your own house from there — in New Zealand,” he said.
If he really could see that far, he’d take in a country getting wound up for a mammoth celebration. Emirates Team New Zealand is two wins away from claiming the America’s Cup for the third time and the first since 2000.
Those wins could come Tuesday, although two things could spoil the Kiwis’ fun. Oracle Team USA has made a game out of the finals, and the threat of excessive winds hangs over each race like a curtain ready to fall just before the last act of the opera. A single race is scheduled Wednesday, previously a reserve day.
If Tuesday’s second race gets in under the wind limit, it will finish around 2:45 p.m. That will be 9:45 a.m. Wednesday in Auckland. If the Cup is handed to the Kiwis, the beer will be flowing in Christchurch, Wellington and Auckland right after breakfast.