by Bob Fisher
Saturday April 21st 1415 CET: It’s the time that the first race of Flight 3 of the Louis Vuitton Cup first round robin should start, but out on both courses, the northern Romeo and the southern Juliet, only the faintest zephyrs were present to ruffle the surface of the Mediterranean, not enough to stir action into the race officers, Peter Reggio and Harold Bennett.
1515 CET: And so it continues . . . there are six knots of breeze, but that is not enough. Certainly not enough and at 1615 CET the two wise men scrubbed racing for another day. The Louis Vuitton Cup becomes further and further behindhand. Once again, it poses the question of whether this was the right place, or the right time to hold racing for the America’s Cup.
The facts are indisputable. In the six days scheduled for racing, it has only been possible to hold it on one. At this rate it will be July 20th before the two rounds robin are completed, but the America’s Cup match is scheduled to start on June 23rd.
No one blames the race officers; they have the sailors’ best interests at heart, and they are not prepared to hold racing that they believe will become a lottery. 'Under seven knots of breeze here, it becomes squirly and any race would be a crap shoot,' said one of the two wise men, adding, 'and none of the teams want that.'
Iain Percy, the helmsman of +39, does have a smile on his face. There is now a Version 5 mast stepped on the Italian boat. The mast that was broken as a result of a collision with United Internet Team Germany has been repaired, thanks to round-the-clock working in the team’s compound. For much of the afternoon, a crewman was up the rig tweaking the intermediate shrouds to straighten the mast, but Percy will want a touch more breeze to tune the mast to his liking.
Percy could be lucky tomorrow, if the local forecasters can be believed, when the winds should be between 10 and 12 knots from the north-east. That should stop the pigs from flying.