Stuck in the Doldrums - Day 4 cancelled

BMW Oracle Racing line up for a start - but it was all for nought

The Louis Vuitton Cup remained stuck in the Doldrums today as the fourth day in succession passed without any racing.

The Doldrums are the belt of calms that circle the earth at the Equator and were dreaded by ancient mariners who feared being trapped in their windless expanses for ever. Although the America’s Cup fleet has the luxury of being towed back to base every night, the sense of frustration is high. At the same time there is general agreement that the Race Committee is correct in holding out for suitable racing conditions.

BMW ORACLE Racing strategist, Eric Doyle, commented: 'The Race Committee did the right thing. We would rather have no racing than bad racing. Everybody understands that this sort of thing happens.'

After two hours of drifting around a windless course off Valencia, hopes flared briefly around 4pm as faint whispers of wind caused the flags to stir and even had teams hoisting sails and ghosting up and down the course. However, optimism proved short-lived as the breeze never reached the strength or stability required for meaningful racing and the red and white striped postponement pennants remained firmly hoisted on the Committee Boats.

BMW ORACLE Racing navigator, Peter Isler, said: 'It looked a little optimistic there for a while. The trouble was the breeze came in exactly when the land was starting to cool down, so it never came to anything. We remain optimistic that we will race tomorrow.'

BMW ORACLE Racing was to have raced the French Areva Challenge and Italian +39 teams today, but these encounters will now have to await better conditions. It is also likely that the entire schedule going forward will have to be re-examined as efforts to make up for lost races further compress an already tight calendar.