Yachting: High winds postpone America’s Cup racing

Yachting: High winds postpone America’s Cup racing

SAN FRANCISCO - America's Cup racing was cancelled on Tuesday due to high winds on San Francisco Bay, denying Emirates Team New Zealand a chance to capture the trophy by sweeping two races.

Safety measures lowering the wind threshold in which races would be conducted were put in place for the regatta following the death of Andrew Simpson from the crew of failed challenger Artemis during a training run in May.

"These boats go very quickly from great racing to survival mode," the Team New Zealand technical director Nick Holroyd said of the risk posed by high winds.

"On a day like today, I am awfully glad to see the boat back at the dock in one piece with 11 fit guys on board."

The AC72 catamaran of Swedish team Artemis, one of three challenger hopefuls, capsized in May and Simpson, a British double Olympic medallist, drowned after being trapped under the overturned structure.

"The loss of Bart in May shook us pretty hard as a community," Oracle team design executive Dirk Kramers said. "We came out collectively with these (wind) limits; these are the rules we play by. We are getting used to delays in sailing and to lose one day is not a big drama for us."

Racing is to resume on Wednesday, when the Kiwis could seize yachting's top trophy by beating Oracle Team USA in both scheduled races.

New Zealand will go into Wednesday with the lead and the momentum, having notched seven victories in a humbling of billionaire yachtsman Larry Ellison, owner of the Oracle team and the reason the event is in San Francisco. The Kiwis scored a piviotal win on Sunday in the 10th race of the series after the event's fiercest on-water duel.

Oracle had scrambled to make an array of changes to its boat after being repeatedly out-sailed by the Kiwis and the adjustments paid off with a triumph in the first of the two races on Sunday.

Oracle, penalized two points for infractions before the start of the races, is fighting for an unprecedented comeback and needs eight more wins to keep the Cup.

Losing Tuesday's races could work to Oracle's disadvantage since its boat seems to perform better in higher winds. The forecast for Wednesday calls for lighter wind.

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