Sailing-Weather threatens to postpone America's Cup showdown, again
SAN FRANCISCO, Sept 23
SAN FRANCISCO, Sept 23 (Reuters) - Light wind on San Francisco Bay threatened on Monday to delay a showdown in the America's Cup, with a once-formidable Emirates Team New Zealand struggling to regain an edge to take the trophy from increasingly confident defender Oracle Team USA.
With two match victories on Sunday, the team owned by software billionaire Larry Ellison has now won four in a row, refusing to give up the one final race that the Kiwis need to take the Cup home.
Uncooperative weather conditions on the bay have wreaked havoc on the America's Cup race schedule and could prevent more racing on Monday.
"The forecast is essentially light and variable, magnificent for water skiing," said regatta director Iain Murray. "It's a promising day, just a matter of whether it gets going early enough."
After struggling to keep up with New Zealand in the early matches of the final series, Oracle made changes to its AC72 catamaran and improved crew execution. It's newly found competitiveness has set the stage for a historic comeback.
At the start of both of Sunday's two races, Oracle forced New Zealand toward the course boundary, a strategy that helped skipper Jimmy Spithill open early leads that New Zealand failed to close.
New Zealand's point advantage over Oracle has fallen to 8-5 in the best-of-17 series. Oracle now needs to win four straight races to keep the Cup, while New Zealand needs just one to take it home.
Too much wind, too little wind, and wind from the wrong direction have forced organizers to postpone several races since the series began on Sept 7. On Saturday, the Kiwis were well on their way to winning one last match, and the Cup. But with both teams struggling to find enough wind, that race was called off after a time limit was exceeded.