Sailing-Lack of wind puts Wednesday's America's Cup races on hold

Solenn Plantier
Juin 2, 2017

Great Britain's bid to qualify for the main event was delayed after l ight winds forced organisers to postpone Wednesday's races.

In the day's other race on the Great Sound, the defending champions US defeated Japan to sit top of the standings on seven points, although they will skip the semi-finals and automatically advance to the America's Cup proper.

Team Japan bought Oracle's design package as part of a deal to enter the America's Cup, and there has been speculation that the startup syndicate, led by former Emirates Team New Zealand skipper Dean Barker, could help Oracle clinch the bonus point by tanking in the head-to-head showdowns.

SoftBank Team Japan has three points while Sweden's Artemis Racing and Groupama Team France have two apiece Those three teams will fight for the final two spots in the challenger semis.

The crew with fewest points after each has raced the other twice in the Louis Vuitton America's Cup Qualifiers will be eliminated, with the other challengers going into a semi-final.

In a rematch of 2013 America;s Cup rivals, former TNZ skipper Dean Barker had his AC50 boat 22 seconds clear at the fourth mark, after forcing US counterpart Jimmy Spithill into a pre-start error and two boat-length penalty.

"They're absolutely killing us", cried Sir Ben, as he watched his hopes of victory slip away.

Land Rover BAR had been struggling since Saturday, when it smashed into SoftBank Team Japan during the prestart, punching a hole in its port hull.

Speaking about the decision, Iain Murray, America's Cup Race Management Regatta Director, said, "It is obviously not ideal that we have to postpone races, but that is precisely why we have spare race days in the schedule". Wins earn one point, and the four Challengers with the most points advance to the next round.

Also Thursday, Oracle overcame a penalty at the start and passed stablemate SoftBank Team Japan to win by 32 seconds.

Barker seized an advantage over French rival Franck Cammas at the start of their opening race of the day and extended that margin over every leg.

If they finish the round-robin in front, they will take a bonus point into the championship match.

"We have had those foils for quite a while and they seem to be really good in those lighter air conditions", he smiled, adding that everyone was looking closer at what was best in those conditions.

Oracle Team USA, owned by software billionaire Larry Ellison, won by 1:56.

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