America's Cup World Series Naples fourth day of racing was suspended due to heavy seas pounding into the breakwaters along the Naples sea front this morning, along with a forecast for winds that could exceed 30 knots.
The match race semi finals and finals will now be sailed on Sunday. Fleet races seven and eight have been abandoned and won’t be sailed, shortening the Fleet Racing Championship to seven races.
'Racing has been suspended today because of the wind as well as the big seas coming in from very strong winds in the Mediterranean,' said Regatta Director Iain Murray. 'The expectation is for the breeze to build up near 30 knots and the waves will go up as well… The potential for damage to people and boats is too high today… My heart says we should be out sailing, but my head says that we need to wait until tomorrow.'
The sailors, while disappointed to lose a day of racing, agreed.
'They made the right decision,' said Paul Campbell-James, the helmsman of Luna Rossa Swordfish. 'Really strong wind and massive waves, which could have damaged the boats. So it was the right decision but it’s a massive disappointment.'
This is the first time racing has been suspended at the America’s Cup World Series in 25 race days.
The racing program for Sunday becomes busier now, with the Match Racing Semi-Finals scheduled to start at 1250 CEST. The AC500 Speed Trial will begin at 1350 and the final fleet race, where the winner earns a whopping 50 points (all the finishing positions are heavily weighted compared with previous races) has a start time of 1455.
Given the poor weather, many of the sailors settled for some virtual racing in the AC45 Club, where Team Korea trimmer Mark Bulkeley posted the best time down the track in the America’s Cup Speed Trials game, earning a bottle of Moët et Chandon champagne.
Oracle Racing’s Ian Burns, who was instrumental in developing the game, said that it had been downloaded more than 25,000 times in its first week in Apple’s App Store.
'It’s been great to see the response to the game, from old and new sailing fans alike,' he said. 'While it’s an easy game for beginners to play, as you can see when these guys take it on, it still gets their competitive fires burning.'
Fleet Racing Championship - Provisional Standings (after six races):
1. Emirates Team New Zealand (Skipper: Dean Barker); 52 points
2. Oracle Racing - Spithill (Skipper: James Spithill); 47 points
3. Luna Rossa - Piranha (Helmsman: Chris Draper); 42 points
4. Team Korea (Skipper: Nathan Outteridge); 39 points
5. Energy Team (Skipper: Yann Guichard); 39 points
6. Luna Rossa - Swordfish (Helmsman: Paul Campbell-James); 35 points
7. Oracle Racing - Bundock (Skipper: Darren Bundock); 28 points
8. Artemis Racing (Skipper: Terry Hutchinson); 20 points
9. China Team (Skipper: Fred Le Peutrec); 8 points
Match Racing Championship – Sunday’s races
SF1 – Artemis Racing vs. Luna Rossa Swordfish
SF2 – Team Korea vs. Luna Rossa Piranha
The winners advance to a one race Final.
See full results and format here.
Americas Cup website
by America's Cup
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1:02 PM Sat 14 Apr 2012GMT
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