America's Cup: Emirates Team New Zealand's wait for victory continues


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The Independent Online

It's never normally like this is the ironic shoulder shrug to explain why sailboat racing plans go wrong around the world and it was the boast of the organisers of the 34th America's Cup that the world could forget the mantra on San Francisco Bay.

Not so. The suspense of seeing the challenger, Emirates Team New Zealand, on match point and needing just one more win to take the cup back to Auckland, continues.

The dream of the US defender skipper, Australian Jimmy Spithill, contriving a boxing kangaroo role by fighting his way off the ropes to a Boys' Own hero comeback win, continues for another day.

This time, San Francisco served up a weather pattern that included rain in the morning (no chance of that say the locals) and a wind direction that so skewed the track the race officers waited until the last minute and then pulled the pin again. They have had too much wind, then too little to complete the race within the 40-minute time limit, and now the wrong kind of wind.

The match remains poised at ETNZ with eight points, Oracle Team USA on three after being docked two points for boat tampering earlier in the cycle. First to nine wins takes the cup.

Sunday is the last appointed day, though Monday is a reserve day, and all kinds of schedules, especially flights and hotels, are in disarray. Race officer John Craig, said it was close on Saturday, but still not possible to set up a fair race course. He has race director Iain Murray and assistant Harold Bennett alongside, but the controller is a computer programmed with all the race rules.

The New Zealand government may be happy if the team eventually closes the deal, but, with it already being Monday down there when racing begins on a San Francisco Sunday, GNP may be taking a hit that has gone on for nearly a week.