Alinghi bubbly on ice because of light wind

The spectators had to put celebrations on hold on Sunday Keystone

The America's Cup committee has called off Sunday's key race because the wind was too light off the coast of Valencia.

This content was published on July 1, 2007 - 16:47

Swiss syndicate Alinghi was heading into the match 4-2 up against challengers Team New Zealand. The next race is scheduled for Tuesday.

The start to the seventh and possibly decisive race in the best-of-nine-series was first delayed and later cancelled to the ire of the enormous spectator fleet and the nearly 100,000 people who had passed through the turnstiles of Port America's Cup.

The Swiss had the momentum going into the race. Brad Butterworth, the cagey skipper looking to clinch his fourth consecutive Auld Mug, guided the SUI-100 to three straight wins coming into Sunday's match, including back-to-back comebacks over the Kiwis.

But afternoon clouds didn't help the already soft breeze as both boats wadded in the light swell, the sailors' munching on sandwiches and patiently waiting until race officials called it a day.

Under this year's America's Cup rules, racing cannot start unless the wind is steady between seven and 23 knots.

Sea breeze

"We were happy with the decision. We didn't want to race again in the light, shifty conditions," said Grant Simmer, Alinghi's managing director.

"We have been waiting for the match for three or four years so it's not a big deal to wait a couple of days," he added.

Alinghi complained when the race committee started last Tuesday's match in shifty conditions. They lost the race.

Sunday's scene reminiscent of the last America's Cup in 2003, when erratic weather in the Hauraki Gulf off Auckland, New Zealand, meant Alinghi had to wait an extra day to complete its 5-0 sweep of Team New Zealand.

The current edition of the event has passed with few weather postponements, aside from a long delay to start the Louis Vuitton Cup challengers' series in April, with nearly eight days of sailing lost.

Match point

On Saturday defending champions Alinghi won a commanding lead in the series, crossing the finishing line 28 seconds ahead of the Kiwis.

The Swiss yacht, owned by the billionaire businessman Ernesto Bertarelli, is now one match race victory away from retaining sailing's most coveted prize.

It became the first European syndicate to win the Auld Mug four years ago.

The 32nd America's Cup match has been the most exciting since 1983 when Australia II came from 3-1 down to take the series 4-3 and end America's 132-year ownership of the trophy.

swissinfo with agencies

In brief

The inaugural race was held off the Isle of Wight in 1851. America dominated the race right up until 1983 when Australia won the trophy.

In 1995 New Zealand became only the third country to win the competition, successfully defending their title in 2000.

The Swiss syndicate Alinghi sailed to victory against Black Magic in 2003 and became the first European team to win the Auld Mug.

The 2007 America's Cup - a best-of-nine series - off the coast of Spain started on June 23 and runs until July 7 at the latest.

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