Video: The battle for the 35th America's Cup will start a day later than planned due to strong winds. Meanwhile, Sir Ben Ainslie and fellow helmsman from the six America's Cup teams rate their chances. Watch the video here....
The America’s Cup Event Authority (ACEA), and America’s Cup Race Management (ACRM), have announced that the strong winds in Bermuda has meant that day one of the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup Qualifiers and the Official Opening Ceremony of the 35th America’s Cup has had to be postponed.
Forecasts indicate that winds may gust over 30 knots during the afternoon and evening, so with the safety of the sailors and spectators as the key priority, ACEA and ACRM have decided to postpone today’s events.
With significantly improved weather conditions tomorrow (27 May), the four races scheduled to take place today will now be added to the race schedules for the subsequent days.
The Official Opening Ceremony of the 35th America’s Cup will now take place tomorrow, starting at 8.30pm, following the three time Grammy award winning entertainer Wyclef Jean’s performance on the Main Stage in the America’s Cup Village at 5.15pm.
Find out how the helmsman rate their chances in the competition below
The America’s Cup Village will close at 9.30pm. Gates open at 11.30am on Saturday, with racing due to take place between 2pm and 5pm.
The CEO of the ACEA, Sir Russell Coutts, said the decision had been made with safety in mind.
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“We are obviously disappointed that the strong winds mean we have had to postpone day one of the 35th America’s Cup. This is clearly a decision we have not taken lightly and appreciate the inconvenience caused to the sellout crowd,” he said.
“Our primary concern however, is always safety for everyone involved in the America’s Cup. We are adding an hour to the race window on both Saturday and Sunday to run extra races with the aim of getting back on schedule,” continued Sir Russell.
“There are still tickets available at the weekend, although not in all categories, so we are hoping Friday’s ticket holders will still get the chance to enjoy what should be an incredible opening weekend,” he added.
All ticket holders for the America’s Cup Village, Grandstand seats, Goslings Dark ‘n Stormy Island Bar and Longtail Lounge and Official Spectator Boat ticket holders will automatically receive a refund within the next ten days as a result of the lost day.
Should those ticket holders wish to attend another day, tickets will need to be purchased separately for this day.
Jimmy Spithill, the skipper and helmsman of the defender of the 35th America’s Cup, ORACLE TEAM USA has said Artemis Racing, SoftBank Team Japan and Emirates Team New Zealand are, to date, the teams to beat in Bermuda.
The six helmsman from the teams gathered for a pre-racing press conference, where they were quizzed by the world’s media.
Meanwhile, there is some doubt as to whether racing will start tomorrow.
On its website, the America’s Cup is warning that strong wind is forecast – with wind levels gusting above 30 knots in the afternoon.
However, the wind may drop within the race raceable limits of 6-24 knots later in the evening.
Organisers say the safety of both the sailors and spectators is always paramount, and a final decision will be made by 9pm GMT once updated forecasts have been asserssed.
If racing is cancelled tomorrow, the America’s Cup Village will also be closed. Racing would then be rescheduled for Saturday afternoon and the Opening Ceremony would also be delayed.
America’s Cup Event Authority CEO, Russell Coutts, said: “With a sellout crowd for Friday, and huge anticipation for what we are confident will be one of the most competitive America’s Cups ever, rest assured that we are doing everything we can to ensure that the opening day goes ahead.”
“However, if the prudent decision is to postpone the start of the event, then racing will be rescheduled to Saturday, where the weather forecast indicates great racing conditions,” he added.