SAN FRANCISCO — The attempt to modernize the stodgy old America’s Cup is slowing the regatta’s momentum and keeping a boatload of Kiwis holding on match point.
Trying to fit racing into a nice, neat two-hour TV window doesn’t quite work in a sport that relies on wind and tides that keep their own schedule and don’t always cooperate.
Race 14 was postponed Saturday because the wind hadn’t settled in from the desired direction by the 2:40 p.m. cutoff time. That forced Emirates Team New Zealand and defending champion Oracle Team USA back to shore to await perhaps better conditions on Sunday.
Regatta director Iain Murray didn’t want to send the high-performance, 72-foot catamarans into skewed conditions with so much at stake.
A front that drenched San Francisco with late-morning rain brought wind from the south. It never swung back to the west-southwest breeze the course is set up for.
The Kiwis have been sitting on match point since Wednesday, leading, 8-3, and needing one more win to wrest the oldest trophy in international sports away from software tycoon Larry Ellison.
The stakes are high for Oracle Team USA, as well, since one more loss will see the America’s Cup sail away from American shores for the third time since 1983. Docked two points in a cheating scandal, the well-funded powerhouse has won four of the last six races. Still, it needs six wins to keep the Auld Mug.
On Friday, Race 13 was abandoned due to a 40-minute time limit with the Kiwis well ahead on the fourth leg of the five-leg course in light wind. Oracle won the re-sail of Race 13 to stay alive for the second straight day.
Organizers will try again Sunday.
It was the seventh time organizers had to abandon or postpone a race since Sept. 14. Both races Tuesday were blown out.
This is the first time in its 162-year history that the America’s Cup has been contested inshore.