The final day of America’s Cup World Series racing in Auckland could be delayed, with light winds potentially pushing the contest close to the 7pm course cut-off.
Regatta director Iain Murray said forecasts suggest wind will be around only 4 knots at the usual 3pm countdown – below the required 6 knot minimum, but should build to a raceable level later.
Racing has been moved to the outermost Course A to make the most of available winds.
“We will get races, it’s just how long we have to wait for them,” Murray said.
Murray also urged boaties going out today to tune in to communication on VHF radio if possible, and observe the spectator boundary, and anchoring restrictions.
INEOS Team UK will make major changes to their boat, but not until after today’s Christmas Cup races.
The America’s Cup World Series regatta has been a disaster for the Brits, whose AC75 has proven to be well off the pace in light breezes.
Skipper Sir Ben Ainslie says while they could use more time, they’ll come out to compete against Team New Zealand.
Course A has been chosen for today – the best views for that are Castor Bay, or Milford Beach. The forecast is for seven to 12 knots.
Best place to watch today's races
Famously known for its steep 120-step staircase down to Castor Bay, Kennedy Park provides a great elevated viewing spot of Course A. There’s very little to obstruct your view and is close enough to catch all of the action. Its large and recently-renovated viewing platform has plenty of space for spectators.
Just off the main road, Kennedy Park is easy to get to and the viewing platform is just a few minutes walk from the carpark. There’s a decent amount of spots to park your car next to the playground but street parking might prove necessary on a crowded day.
Bus route from Britomart (35min): Take Bus NX1 to Smales Farm Bus Station. Connect onto Bus 856 to Stop 3340 at Beach Rd/Kennedy Park.
Victorious New Zealand set up semi-final with struggling Ineos Team UK
New Zealand emerged victorious from the round robin stage of the America’s Cup World Series event in Auckland on Saturday, setting up a semi-final against struggling British challengers Ineos Team UK in Sunday’s Prada Christmas Cup.
Sir Ben Ainslie’s team endured another torturous day on the water. They had looked to have turned a corner on Friday, showing reasonable boat speed and staying up on their foils for the most part.
But they are really struggling with their manoeuvres in light airs, and Saturday’s patchy conditions – 7-13 knots – did not suit them at all.
After a late shift of the racecourse further up the Rangitoto Channel to get the best of what breeze there was, Ineos Team UK lost both their races, to American Magic and Luna Rossa, by heavy margins, their boat Britannia frequently falling off its foils during manoeuvres. They are now six defeats out of six.
One of the learnings from this first week of racing with these AC75s, is that each time a boat goes down, particularly in light winds, it can take a long time to get back up on its foils. That can equate to hundreds of metres, sometimes as much as a kilometre, in terms of gains or losses on the race course. Huge distances. Staying up is therefore of paramount importance.
“It was a tough day,” Ainslie admitted. “We’ve been talking for a while about the lighter airs where we’re struggling. There’s a lot to look at in terms of where we’re going wrong. The other three teams are certainly doing a better job than we are. So we’ve got to figure that out and figure that out pretty quickly. All the boats stopped [ie fell off their foils], but some more than others.”
Ineos Team UK have been extremely aggressive with their design, but there is no time now to make radical alterations to the boat ahead of the Prada Cup challenger series which starts on January 15.
“Making a serious hull modification is probably unlikely in terms of the amount of time it would take us off the water,” Ainslie admitted. “As we’ve seen, every hour on the water at the moment we’re making huge gains. So I think it’s unlikely that we will make any hull modifications. But we’ve certainly got to look at all the other areas where we can make gains. We’re struggling down the range in particular, at the slower boat speeds.”
Ainslie said there were no more foil packages to come, although they can still make changes to their rudders, rudder elevators and sails, plus work to perfect their flight control during manoeuvres.
Grinder Freddie Carr, meanwhile, said the wheels were wobbling but insisted they were “a long way from falling off”. “These are the days which are sent to test you,” Carr said on the team’s Inside Tack debrief show. “This was the hardest day we’ve had as a syndicate. Today was not good enough, the performance of the boat or the sailing team. But we are super honest with each other. And we’ve got a line in the sand now. We have to turn the corner. Our biggest strength is how we will pull together. And we will turn the corner.
“We have five weeks to find some speed. Christmas is cancelled that is for sure. We have to find some boat speed otherwise we aren’t going anywhere near that final America’s Cup match.”
Team NZ showed again why they are favourites to defend the Cup in March, beating American Magic and Luna Rossa, albeit they had to come from behind in both races.
The winner of Team NZ vs Ineos Team UK will go on to face the winners of Luna Rossa vs American Magic in Sunday’s Prada ‘Christmas Cup’ with the losers facing each other in a 3rd/4th playoff.
Enjoy smooth sailing to the Cup with Auckland Transport
• Avoid traffic congestion and parking niggles and download the AT Mobile app to plot your bus, train or ferry ride to race venues before you leave home.
• Make sure your AT HOP card is in your pocket. It’s the best way to ride to the Cup
• For more ways to enjoy race day, visit at.govt.nz/americascup
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