America’s Cup: Lack of wind delays Challenger semi-finals

Land Rover BAR skippered by Ben Ainslie races during the America's Cup on June 3, 2017

Powerhouse Emirates Team New Zealand, who earned the right to choose their semi-final foe by topping the seedings.

Light winds postponed the scheduled start of the America’s Cup challenger semi-finals on Sunday, but the one-day delay could be good news for Ben Ainslie’s Land Rover BAR.

Powerhouse Emirates Team New Zealand, who earned the right to choose their semi-final foe by topping the seedings, selected the British outfit with the forecast for light winds in mind.

Now their opening two races in the semi-finals have been pushed back to Monday, when brisk breezes are expected.

Monday was originally scheduled as an off-day.

“Whilst we tried hard to race, we unfortunately had to postpone the four races planned for Sunday until Monday because the winds simply didn’t reach the required six knot strength,” regatta director Iain Murray said.

“This is how it is sometimes in sailing — here in Bermuda we have been spoilt for action so far, and today was just one of those days.”

Ainslie, for one, wasn’t complaining.

“To be really honest we are not too unhappy about the situation right now,” Ainslie told a television interviewer as the four challenger catamarans drifted on Bermuda’s Great Sound waiting to see if the winds would reach the required average of 6 knots (11.11 Km/h).

“We do struggle in the light airs,” Ainslie said. “We know that, our competitors know that. We’re looking forward to a better forecast tomorrow.”

Sweden’s Artemis Racing will take on SoftBank Team Japan in the other first-to-five wins semi-final.

The four teams are vying for the chance to take on two-time defending champions Oracle Team USA in the 35th America’s Cup Match that starts on June 17.

Sweden and Japan are familiar foes, as they both based their operations in Bermuda and have therefore trained alongside each other for 18 months.

Sweden beat the Japanese twice in round-robin competition, but Japan helmsman Dean Barker was looking forward to another shot.

“We know they are a very strong team,” Barker said. “I’m sure the racing is going to be very close and it will be interesting all the way through.”

posted by ConnectMe

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