5 Jun 2017

Light winds cancellation a blow for Team NZ

9:02 am on 5 June 2017

Team New Zealand may have lost their biggest advantage today over their America's Cup semi-final opponent BAR.

Team New Zealand crossing the line for its second win of the day.

Team New Zealand Photo: RNZ / Todd Niall

Racing was cancelled due to a lack of wind, conditions in which Team New Zealand has previously looked much stronger than others.

Winds struggled to get much above the three or four knot level, well below the steady six knots needed to start a race.

It is the third day out of nine race days it has had to be called off in Bermuda.

Team New Zealand was due for its first encounter with the British team, and Artemis against Softbank Team Japan in the America's Cup challenger semi-finals.

Senior team member Murray Jones said Sir Ben Ainslie was probably happy at today's cancellation.

"He was probably not excited to go racing today in that wind, he'd be happy to wait another day," said Jones

Today's races will now be held tomorrow on what was to have been a lay day.

Jones said winds will be moderate tomorrow, perhaps around 12 knots, and that might suit BAR better.

"I think they got pretty well in the 12 knot range, and they've been improving a lot in the last couple of weeks, so we'll probably have a good race with them."

Ainslie had previously said he thought Team New Zealand's relative strength in light airs was one of the reasons they chose his team as their semi-final opponent.

Wind is expected to build over the next days with regatta director Iain Murray expecting winds in the mid-20 knots range by mid-week.

The semi-final contest will be played out with each pair racing twice a day for up to four days, or until one team has scored five wins.

Artemis and Dean Barker's Softbank Team Japan are the other pair, and the two winners are due to meet in the Challenger Finals next Sunday morning.

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