Prada upset by cancellation

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The Independent Online

The third race of the America's Cup match was cancelled yesterday due to a lack of wind, frustrating Italy's Prada as they sought to fight back in the series against the holders, Team New Zealand, here on the Hauraki Gulf.

The third race of the America's Cup match was cancelled yesterday due to a lack of wind, frustrating Italy's Prada as they sought to fight back in the series against the holders, Team New Zealand, here on the Hauraki Gulf.

New Zealand have a 2-0 lead after dominating the first two races in the first-to-five series. The third race is now set for tomorrow, with race four on Sunday. The Italians, seeking to become the first Europeans to win the America's Cup, desperately wanted the chance to halt the momentum of the confident New Zealanders.

A race seemed possible as the wind increased from five knots to eight, enough to complete the six-leg, 18.5 nautical mile course within time limits. However, officials were concerned the wind was too unstable on certain parts of the course - wind direction in some areas was shifting 40 degrees - to ensure a fair race.

While they waited, the Italians sailed around the course and were disappointed by the cancellation. "We are a little unhappy that we didn't race today, we felt the conditions were good enough," Matteo Plazzi, the Prada navigator, said. "We had two bad sailing days and we wanted to race today." Similar conditions are forecast for the coming days.

Harold Bennett, a race officer, said winds were just too variable to ensure a good race. "All our indicators led me to believe that we were not going to see good, fair conditions," he said. Brad Butterworth, the New Zealand tactician, said his team were also disappointed there was no race, but felt officials made the right decision.

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