A passing cold front puts a halt to the much anticipated showdown between the giant multihulls...
Alinghi 5 in the channel in Valencia. Image copyright Luca Butto'/Alinghi.
by Daphne Morgan Barnicoat
Monday's scheduled Race 1 of the 33rd America's Cup Match was postponed due to light and unstable winds on the Mediterranean Sea.
The Alinghi team was looking forward to racing the 90ft catamaran Alinghi 5 after seven months of testing and trialling, but now they'll have to wait until Wednesday for the next opportunity.
"It was very light," said navigator Juan Vila. "We had some puffs up to 6 knots but they didn't last long. The direction also was random, mostly from the west but not enough for a fair race. The forecast didn't look promising once the wind got varaible, so I think it was a good decision not to race today."
Alinghi's weather team predicted winds around 10 knots today, but showers from a passing cold front disrupted the forecast.
"Ahead of the cold front was a weak southerly gradient with lots of clouds and some showers," said Jack Katzfey, team meteorologist. "The mountains in Valencia disrupted the winds and killed any chance of a flow developing. It was supposed to get lighter, but it got a lot lighter."
The day was officially called at 13:50, after the Alinghi sailors had been on the water for more than seven hours. They departed the team base in the Port America's Cup this morning at 06:30 engulfed in darkness, with temporary running lights affixed on the hulls and after cross beam for the tow to the start line.
Today would have marked the 13th race in an America's Cup Match for Alinghi dating back to 2003. Instead, it was the eighth postponement experienced by the Defender from the Societe Nautique de Geneve.
"We knew the conditions would be like this here. We can't count on every day being perfect to have a race," Vila said. "Today, unfortunately, wasn't, but I'm pretty sure we'll find another day to have a fair race. It's important that when the starting gun goes off it's a fair race for everyone."
Race 1 of the 33rd America's Cup is scheduled for Wednesday, weather permitting.